“Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who rejoice at my hurt; let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who exalt themselves against me. Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, ‘Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.’” Ps. 35: 26-27
RALLIES IN ISRAEL AND AROUND THE WORLD PROTEST SURGE IN ANTI-SEMITISM: Mass rallies were held both in Israel and around the world by the World Zionist Organization on Sunday, 10 March 2019 in the wake of recent anti-Semitic events. The ralliers called governments in each of their respective countries to raise the issue of anti-Semitic incidents to the top of their priorities. Rallies were held around the world, including in Jerusalem, Times Square in New York, the Great Synagogue Plaza in Paris, and many more. "We stand here today in these different locations around the world to say enough," said Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Jacob Hagoel. "We are in a difficult and painful period that has deteriorated rapidly from the scrawling of caricatures and anti-Semitic graffiti, past the destruction of graves and reaching the point of physical harm to Jews in numerous countries. In the past, we could not do anything because we were a submissive, persecuted people," said Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization. Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau explained that "I do not hate a man even if his face is different from mine, even if his opinions are different from mine, even if his origins are different from mine." (J.Post)
POPE MEETS JEWISH GROUP, DECRIES ‘DEPRAVED’ ANTI-SEMITISM: Pope Francis is denouncing the "depraved hatred" behind a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in parts of the world and says interfaith dialogue can help counter it. Francis made the comments to a Friday 8 March 2019 audience with a delegation of the American Jewish Committee. He lamented that their meeting was taking place amid the spread of a "climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root." And he warned that for Christians, any form of anti-Semitism is "a rejection of one's own origins, a complete contradiction." (Ynet)
PA CONTINUES TO TEACH THAT ISRAEL IS ‘PALESTINE’: Despite insurances from Palestinian Authority leaders that they support a two-state solution and want to live side by side with Israel, the PA continues to teach children that Israel will come to an end, Palestinian Media Watch reported. Showing a drawing of a map of "Palestine" which included all of Israel together with the PA areas, the host on official PA TV stated that "all of Palestine will return to us." PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidam recently illustrated this same message - that all of Israel is "Palestine." Minister Saidam participated in the program In the Minister's Seat on official PA TV together with a young girl, Sidra Al-Shawamreh. The minister held a plaque of honor featuring the PA map of "Palestine" that includes all of Israel. Abbas' Fatah Movement also disseminated the message that all of Israel is "Palestine" in a drawing of a tattoo with the title "Jordan and Palestine." The cartoon shows an arm and wrist with a blue tattoo in the shape of Jordan and "Palestine" that includes Israel. (Arutz-7) However, this is what the Lord has to say about the matter: “They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.” Ezek: 37:25
PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN WOMAN ASIA BIBI REMAINS TRAPPED IN PAKISTAN DESPITE ACQUITTAL: A Pakistani Catholic woman, acquitted in Jan. 2019 of a blasphemy charge by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, remains trapped in the country amid fears that her health is failing. Asia Bibi, 53, is living with her husband at a secret location in Karachi, Pakistan, where she is being denied medical care for her “low blood pressure.” The source explained that Bibi is “very unwell” and expressed frustration that she is being kept by the Pakistani army from following her children to Canada, where PM Justin Trudeau has offered asylum. “Everyone is very worried,” the source continued. “She won her appeal and was supposed to be out of Pakistan by now. Even though the government says she can leave, the army has all the power in this case. Bibi spent nearly a decade languishing in a Pakistani prison after being accused of blasphemy against Mohammed, a capital offense in the Islamic Republic.
On a sweltering day in June 2009, the illiterate field hand claimed to have been picking berries with women from her village when they demanded she fetch them a cup of water. When she returned, the women refused to drink after her because of her Christian faith. “I want the whole world to know that I’m going to be hanged for helping my neighbor,” Bibi recounted to a French journalist in 2011 from her small prison cell. “We Christians have always stayed silent. We’ve been taught since we were babies never to say anything because we’re a minority. But I’m stubborn too and now I want to react, I want to defend my faith. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with courage. I’m not going to convert,” Bibi told the women when they began to hurl curses at her and demanding her conversion. “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind." Bibi was dragged before the village cleric for such comments and taken to a prison outside Lahore, Pakistan, near the Indian border. For nearly 10 years, she awaited a pending death sentence until being acquitted. (Daily Caller) Intercede for the strengthening in body and soul of this courageous woman who has suffered harsh persecution for her faith. Pray that she will soon be released and be able to join her children in Canada.
ISRAELI BUSINESSMAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF GUATEMALA: A Guatemalan-born Israeli businessman is running for president of his native country. Yitzhak Farhi, 58, moved to Israel at the age 46 after heading the Central American country’s 1,200-strong Jewish community. In June 2019, the dual citizen will run for president thanks to a Guatemalan television interview aired two months ago, in which he was asked about the secret of Israel’s success. He replied that “ideals and unity” were behind the reasons and suggested that Guatemala could also benefit from adopting these principles. Farhi received an offer from the ViVa party and announced his candidacy last week. Farhi entered politics at an early age. He was among the founders of Guatemala’s National Advancement Party, which became one of the largest in the country. Farhi is a resident of Ra’anana, the Israeli central city that serves as a magnet to wealthy immigrants for its high standards and international suburban atmosphere, but is returning to Guatemala to run in the June 2019 elections. He currently serves as CEO of a company that specializes in providing health services. Last year, Guatemala followed the United States and moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (J.Post)
WOMEN HOLD 13% OF LATIN AMERICAN JEWISH INSTITUTIONS LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: The representation of women is low on boards of directors of Jewish organizations all across Latin America and the Caribbean, and it is even lower in posts of top responsibility and influence in decision-making. Women hold a little more than one-fifth of board positions, or 22.3%, and hold executive committee roles as president, vice-president, executive director or dean at 13% of Jewish organizations, according to the first regional study on gender equality. The Jewish community is starting to tackle the issue. An ongoing initiative is to address women’s issues in the Jewish political umbrella organization of Argentina DAIA. The effort to raise the issue of gender equality has been promoted in recent years by DAIA, which has organized a meeting about women leaders annually for the last three years. “We are working on a new ethics code in our organization which will introduce integrity and gender perspective issues,” said Patricia Manusovich, secretary of DAIA. The survey, titled “Gender and Leadership in the Jewish Communities of Latin America and the Caribbean,” suggests measures such as fixed quotas for women’s participation with an aim to achieving parity, or 50%, or proportional participation depending on the gender makeup of the organization in question. “We aim to promote actions for change and increase the presence of women on the boards of Jewish organizations and in the communities of the region,” said Sergio Widder, JDC director in Latin America and the Caribbean. (JTA)
AN OUTSTANDING YEAR FOR ISRAEL’S ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TECHNOLOGIES: Artificial Intelligence technologies in Israel saw significant growth in 2018, in the number of companies raising funding, the amounts invested, as well as new products released, a new report by Start-Up Nation Central shows. Israel is home to a vibrant AI ecosystem that grew from 512 companies in 2014 to 1,150 by the end of 2018 (120% increase in 4 years). These include companies that develop core AI technologies as well as companies that utilize AI-technologies for their services, such as healthcare, cybersecurity, autonomous driving, among others. Start-Up Nation Central’s report shows that in 2018, AI-related companies accounted for 17% of the total number of 6,673 active Israeli tech companies in Israel. Strikingly, 32% of all funding rounds and 37% of the total capital raised went to AI-related companies, representing a 94% increase from the number of funding rounds raised by AI-related companies in 2014, and an 85% increase in the amount of capital raised. The total capital raised by AI companies in 2018 ($2.25B) more than tripled from the amount raised in 2014 ($516M); a peak year in terms of capital raised by Israeli AI companies. (Forbes)
WHAT'S THE MOST POPULAR DOG IN ISRAEL? There are nearly 500,000 dogs registered in Israel – 235,929 female dogs and 240,933 male dogs. The average Israeli dog is 6.5 years old. Some 56,219 new dogs were born and added to the Ministry of Agriculture database in the past year. The Shih Tzu is the most popular dog in Israel (up from third place last year). Last year’s most popular pup, the Pekingese – an ancient breed of toy dog - was dropped to second place after three consecutive years. And No. 3 is the German Shepherd, a breed of medium to large-sized working dog. The name given to more dogs born in Israel last year than any other is Toy, likely named after the song by 2018 Eurovision winner Neta Barzilai. Other popular names: Louis, was among the most popular for male dogs, and Luna and Bell were popular for females. The Ministry of Agriculture promotes dog adoption and proper care of animals. (INN)
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