The creative director of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo was fired on Thursday, one day before the event is set to take place. Kentaro Kobayashi, who had previously been a member of a popular comedy duo, was terminated after a video of a comedy routine he performed in the 1990s surfaced in which he appeared to joke about the Holocaust. "We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy," said Olympic Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, according to The Associated Press. "We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country," he added. ...
Texas may withdraw its investments from Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever, after the ice cream company decided to boycott Judea and Samaria, Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced on Thursday. Hegar said he directed his staff to determine whether Ben & Jerry's or Unilever took any action that would trigger his state's anti-boycott law. Texas’ pension fund amounts to over $100 million, according to Bloomberg, and Unilever is included in its portfolio. Texas Government Code Chapter 808 prohibits the government from investing its pension fund in any party that boycotts Israel. It defines "boycott Israel" as "refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict ec...
In recent months, the process of getting student visas for Israel travel has been an exceptionally challenging and lengthy process, with months-long waits that created tremendous financial difficulties and other significant hardships. Amudim has been working closely with the Israeli Consulate in New York and was blessed to be able to develop a system by which countless students were able to receive their visas without long wait times for appointments. Fortunately, thanks to concerted efforts by individuals and government agencies, a new system has been implemented that will allow thousands of students to travel to Israel seamlessly and swiftly.  This new system, created through the tremendous efforts and dedication of officials at the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Af...
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu spoke this week with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on the need for additional coronavirus vaccines. "In the last few days I spoke twice with my friend, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla," Netanyahu said in a video released Wednesday. "I also talked to other experts. I have come to the conclusion that the State of Israel must immediately order millions of vaccines and it must start immediately to give out the third vaccine dose to the adult population." "This is the population, those over the age of 50, who are at risk, at risk for serious illness or death. And giving the third vaccine dose, not to 200,000 people, but to two million people, that is the only way to protect this population, the only way to protect the great success that we brought in making Israel the...
Decision to end ice cream sales in West Bank draws harsh condemnation from newly-elected president Israel's President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday called boycotts against Israel "a new kind of terrorism" following the decision by US ice cream company Ben & Jerry's to no longer sell its products in the West Bank. "The boycott of Israel is a new sort of terrorism, economic terrorism," Herzog said at a ceremony commemorating past prime ministers and presidents of Israel. "Terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form." Herzog added: “The BDS campaign is not pursuing peace and is seeking to undermine the State of Israel’s existence.” The Vermont-based subsidiary of British congl...
Hundreds of girls heard Ishay Ribo speak this week in the Nifgashot workshop. Here are a few of the beautiful thoughts he articulated on this occasion:* "For this generation, Jewish music is part and parcel of life. In my opinion, this is not a trend. This will endure forever and will only increase. Slowly but surely there will be more popular music with real content, depth, and spirit. What we see today is only the beginning".* "I was a soldier, married, and the father of a baby when I started to record. At that time, I asked HaShem to grant me a livelihood from music, even if that would be in the most minimal way. Only that there should be enough money to bring home so that I could do what I loved. Today, in moments of great success, on the stage in Caesarea, I have strived to remember t...
A senior executive at Google has been terminated after he published a manifesto in which he admitted that he had been an anti-Semite but claimed to have changed his opinions. Amr Awadallah, who was vice president of developer relations at Google Cloud, had joined the company in 2019. Recently he published a 10,000-word manifesto on LinkedIn stating that “I hated the Jewish people, all the Jewish people! and emphasis here is on the past tense.” Awadallah immediately stressed that “I acknowledge that prejudice, and especially hateful prejudice, is a vile philosophy that should be eradicated from our society. And by that, I specifically mean “irrational hate towards an entire class of people because of their affiliation to that class”. Awadallah goes on to cri...
It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rav Yitzchok Feigelstock, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Mesivta of Long Beach. Rav Feigelstock, one of the ziknei roshei yeshivos in the United States, was a member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisroel of America. Yehi zichro boruch.
Perpetrator could still face more than 100 federal charges, where federal prosecutors could seek death penalty The now 22-year-old who perpetrated the Chabad of Poway synagogue attack in 2019, in which one person was killed and three wounded, pleaded guilty to criminal charges Tuesday and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Former nursing student John T. Earnest admitted charges of murder and attempted murder in a plea deal that spares him a potential death sentence in the state case. He also pleaded guilty to a further hate crime, namely arson, after setting fire to an Escondido mosque a month before the attack on the synagogue. As a result, the shooter will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plu...
Wanting is not inherently wrong; wanting to love, wanting to be loved, wanting comfort, a nice house, fine clothes.  It’s only when wanting is driven by jealousy that it becomes a fault.  Too often, we want things not because they enrich our lives or reflect well on ourselves and our community but because someone else has them.  And the fact that someone else has what we do not eats at us.  We want more in order for our neighbor to have less. Indeed, a story is told of an envious person who been promised that, “Any wish you make will be granted… however, whatever you wish for your neighbor will get twofold.” The offer created a quandary for this person.  He would love a million dollars but that would mean his neighbor would get two millio...
 A "code orange" air quality alert has been issued for the Baltimore-Washington area Wednesday, July 21, in part due to a smoke plume. The Maryland Department of the Environment declares code orange when air pollution concentrations may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Smoke from wildfires in the western United States will result in hazy skies and a rise in fine particulates in the air in the Mid-Atlantic, according to officials. "Highest hourly concentrations will be during the morning and early afternoon hours," forecasters said of the large smoke plume descending on the Mid-Atlantic. "A front will make its way through the area Wednesday evening. Fine particulates will begin to clear out in its wake but given how high concentrations will be initially, expect generally [unh...
Sen. Rand Paul said he will send a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal investigation of Dr. Anthony Fauci.  "I will be sending a letter to Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress. We have scientists that were lined up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain-of-function," the Kentucky Republican told Sean Hannity of Fauci on Tuesday evening’s "Hannity" program.   "He's doing this because he has a self interest to cover his tracks and to cover his connection to Wuhan lab," Paul continued.  Paul’s interview comes after he and Fauci had another heated exchange during a Senate hearing Tuesday when the two traded accusations of "lying" over ga...
Less than two months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the chief prosecutor of the alleged 9/11 conspirators announced his surprise retirement Thursday, making a trial in the case appear increasingly unlikely. The retirement of Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins after a decade in the job was disclosed in a message to the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11. Martins had previously repeatedly delayed his retirement and was scheduled to remain in his position until 2023. No clear reason was given for his early exit. The message — from Karen Loftus, director of the prosecution team’s Victim Witness Assistance Program, and obtained by NPR — said Martins is stepping down “in the best interests of the ongoing cases.” It cit...
Tiberias - On Monday afternoon on Yefe Nof Street in Tiberias (Tevaria), a woman in her 50s began to feel unwell and called her son to tell him that he should call for help. The son, who did not live at home any longer, called emergency services but in his haste to rush over to the apartment himself, had given an incomplete address. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center received the alert and notified the closest responders to the incident.  Yaeir Nachum a veteran EMT was taking care of some household chores at home when his emergency phone began to vibrate alerting him to the medical emergency taking place nearby. He dropped what he was doing, rushed out to his ambucycle and sped to the street, but couldn’t find the address, which had been given incorrectly. With...
40 percent of this year's pilgrims are women, Saudi officials say Bushra Shah, a 35-year-old Pakistani, says she is realizing a childhood dream by making the great pilgrimage to Mecca, and under new rules she's doing it without a male "guardian". The hajj ministry has officially allowed women of all ages to make the pilgrimage without a male relative, known as a "mehrem", on the condition that they go in a group. The decision is part of social reforms rolled out by de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is trying to shake off the kingdom's austere image and open up its oil-reliant economy. Since his rise to power, women have been allowed to drive and to travel abroad without a male guardian -- even against a backdrop of a relentless crackdown against cri...
Scammers stole at least $4.2 billion from individuals in 2020, more than half of the amount stolen over the previous three years, according to a new report analyzing federal data. Identity verification website Social Catfish noted in its report that the $4.2 billion reported lost due to online scams in 2020 compares to $7.6 billion collectively lost between 2017 and 2019. Last year’s figure was included in a 2020 internet crime report released by the FBI in March. Social Catfish noted in its report released Monday that some individuals may also be too ashamed to file a report about being scammed online.
Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina) has just announced a reform for the kosher supervision system, and is expected to announce a reform on the issue of conversions as well. Kan News analyst Shmuel Rosner said that similar to the kosher supervision reform, Kahana aims to change the conversion system so that conversions can be performed without the Chief Rabbinate's supervision. According to the report, planning for this process is already at an advanced stage, and there is a chance that it will be presented to the public within the coming weeks. Kahana's adviser, Rabbi Shai Weizman, said Wednesday morning that this was part of the coalition agreement: "According to the agreement, city rabbis will go back to performing conversions, the way they had in the ...
‘Green passport’ is reinstated for indoor events involving more than 100 people New restrictions went into effect in Israel at midnight on Tuesday, including restrictions on access to large indoor events, and new fines for those breaking health rules, as the country tries to contain the recent rise in Covid infections.  Under the new rules, the so-called "green passport" system, used for the first time at the start of the year, will be reinstated for indoor events involving more than 100 people. Access to these gatherings is now limited to people vaccinated or recovered from the virus, or who present a negative PCR test carried out in the 72 hours preceding the event. A rapid virus test can also be used, if done within the previous 24 hours.  If the size of the ...
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