Big gains in Israeli tech


Israeli IPO’s World-Beating 73% Surge Leads August Rally

By Gabrielle Coppola – Aug 31, 2014

Mobileye NV (MBLY), the technology company that went public a month ago, led gains among U.S.-listed Israeli stocks in August as investors shrugged off concern that the seven-week Gaza conflict will weaken the economy.

Mobileye has surged 73 percent to $43.22 since listing in New York on July 31, the biggest rally among all companies globally that raised $500 million or more in the past three months. Caesarstone Sdot-Yam Ltd. (CSTE), the maker of quartz counter-tops, climbed 20 percent in August, the second-best performance on the Bloomberg Israel-U.S. Equity Index, which rose 4.8 percent.

While signs have emerged that the Gaza fighting is starting to curb output at some Israeli businesses, hurt tourism and cut into consumer spending, investors have shown little concern, instead bidding up stocks in line with gains being posted in the U.S. and other major global markets. The performance of Mobileye and Caesarstone, which has more than tripled since its 2012 listing, could help bolster demand for more Israeli initial public offerings, according to Josef Schuster, the founder of Chicago-based IPOX Schuster LLC.

“Momentum drives everything right now,” Schuster said by phone Aug. 28. “Mobileye and Caesarstone, if you held that, you made a lot of money.”

The Nasdaq Composite Index (CCMP) advanced 4.8 percent this month, while the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.8 percent, breaking the 2,000 mark on Aug. 26, 27 and 29.

Investors are pouring money into equities on optimism the U.S. economy is strengthening and as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled policy makers may introduce an asset-buying plan to bolster growth amid slowing inflation.

Record IPO

Executives at Mobileye didn’t respond to a request for comment made after business hours in Israel.

Mobileye’s $1 billion IPO was the biggest in the U.S. by an Israeli company on record, part of a rush of deals last month. Six Israeli companies have gone public in the U.S. this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Eight more have offerings pending.

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Media is obsessed with Israel

An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

Israel is not an idea, a symbol of good or evil, or a litmus test for liberal opinion at dinner parties. It is a small country in a scary part of the world that is getting scarier. It should be reported as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion.

A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters

By Matti Friedman|August 26, 2014

The Israel Story

Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazed génocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article—30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza.

When the hysteria abates, I believe the events in Gaza will not be remembered by the world as particularly important. People were killed, most of them Palestinians, including many unarmed innocents. I wish I could say the tragedy of their deaths, or the deaths of Israel’s soldiers, will change something, that they mark a turning point. But they don’t. This round was not the first in the Arab wars with Israel and will not be the last. The Israeli campaign was little different in its execution from any other waged by a Western army against a similar enemy in recent years, except for the more immediate nature of the threat to a country’s own population, and the greater exertions, however futile, to avoid civilian deaths.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

In this essay I will try to provide a few tools to make sense of the news from Israel. I acquired these tools as an insider: Between 2006 and the end of 2011 I was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s two biggest news providers. I have lived in Israel since 1995 and have been reporting on it since 1997.

This essay is not an exhaustive survey of the sins of the international media, a conservative polemic, or a defense of Israeli policies. (I am a believer in the importance of the “mainstream” media, a liberal, and a critic of many of my country’s policies.) It necessarily involves some generalizations. I will first outline the central tropes of the international media’s Israel story—a story on which there is surprisingly little variation among mainstream outlets, and one which is, as the word “story” suggests, a narrative construct that is largely fiction. I will then note the broader historical context of the way Israel has come to be discussed and explain why I believe it to be a matter of concern not only for people preoccupied with Jewish affairs. I will try to keep it brief.

How Important Is the Israel Story?

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

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biological basis for risky behavior

Inside the Teenage Brain: New Studies Explain Risky Behavior


August 27, 2014

Source: Science Daily

Florida State University

Young man (stock image). “Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, neuroscientists, criminal justice professionals and parents are engaged in a daily struggle to understand and solve the enigma of teenage risky behaviors,” Bhide said. “Such behaviors impact not only the teenagers who obviously put themselves at serious and lasting risk but also families and societies in general.

Credit: © iko / Fotolia

It’s common knowledge that teenage boys seem predisposed to risky behaviors. Now, a series of new studies is shedding light on specific brain mechanisms that help to explain what might be going on inside juvenile male brains.

Florida State University College of Medicine Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide brought together some of the world’s foremost researchers in a quest to explain why teenagers — boys, in particular — often behave erratically.

The result is a series of 19 studies that approached the question from multiple scientific domains, including psychology, neurochemistry, brain imaging, clinical neuroscience and neurobiology. The studies are published in a special volume of Developmental Neuroscience, “Teenage Brains: Think Different?”

“Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, neuroscientists, criminal justice professionals and parents are engaged in a daily struggle to understand and solve the enigma of teenage risky behaviors,” Bhide said. “Such behaviors impact not only the teenagers who obviously put themselves at serious and lasting risk but also families and societies in general.

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No winners in Gaza war

What Hamas destroyed

The high price of a pointless war

Palestinians’ hatred of Israel runs so deep that they cheer Hamas for insisting on the destruction of the Jewish state rather than negotiating a two-state peace.

by Editorials


Thursday, August 28, 2014,

So much anguish, so much bloodshed, and we’re back to a basic truth: Hamas is an utterly nihilistic force that values its maddened hatred of the Jewish state far more than it does the lives of the Gazan people.

And in its anti-Semitic fervor, the terrorist organization has a depressingly deep well of support from the very people whose lives it toys with.

From day one of the conflict that began in June, Israel would have preferred calm.

But Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks that terrorized innocent Israelis, as well as the kidnapping and murder of three boys, forced Israel to respond, to stop the rockets and dismantle Hamas’ terror tunnels.

More than 2,000 Palestinians, along with 70 Israelis, ultimately paid with their lives — with most of the Gazan casualties coming after Hamas rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal 35 days ago.

The Palestinian people gained nothing between that fateful decision and what appears to be the final ceasefire agreed to on Tuesday. The terms are essentially the same. Only the unnecessary body count is higher.

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Anti-semitism and intolerance returns to Europe

Europe’s Slow Surrender to Intolerance

The line separating anti-Zionism — the belief that Jews have no right to an independent state in at least part of their ancestral homeland — and anti-Judaism, already reed-thin, has pretty much vanished.

Aug 22, 2014 , Bloomberg View

By Jeffrey Goldberg

On the one hand, it is completely unsurprising that Europe has become a swamp of anti-Jewish hostility. It is, after all, Europe. Anti-Jewish hostility has been its metier for centuries. (Yes, the locus of much anti-Jewish activity today is within Europe’s large Muslim-immigrant population; but the young men who threaten their Jewish neighbors draw on the language and traditions of European anti-Semitism as much as they do on Muslim modes of anti-Semitic thought.)

On the other hand, the intensity, and velocity, of anti-Jewish invective — and actual anti-Jewish thuggery — has surprised even Eurocynics such as myself. “Jews to the gas,” a chant heard at rallies in Germany, still has the capacity to shock. So do images of besieged synagogues and looted stores. And testimony from harassed rabbis and frightened Jewish children.

But I find myself most bothered by what seems to have been, on the surface, a relatively minor incident. The episode took place last weekend at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in central London. Protesters assembled outside the store to call for a boycott of Israeli-made goods. Quickly, the manager ordered employees to empty the kosher food section. One account suggests that a staff member, when asked about the empty shelves, said “We support Free Gaza.” Other reports suggest that the manager believed that demonstrators might invade the store and trash it. (There is precedent to justify his worry.)

After a good deal of publicity following the incident, Sainsbury’s apologized to its Jewish customers. “This will not happen again,” its corporate affairs director, Trevor Datsun, said, according to the Jewish Chronicle. “Managers will be told not to move kosher food because of some perceived threat.”

Why do I find this incident to be more disturbing than, say, reported attacks on kippah-wearing Jews, or the scrawling of swastikas on Jewish shops?

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New clue for autism treatment

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Reprinted from Science Daily


August 21, 2014


Columbia University Medical Center

In a study of brains from children with autism, researchers found that autistic brains did not undergo normal pruning during childhood and adolescence. The images show representative neurons from autistic (left) and control (right) brains; the spines on the neurons indicate the location of synapses.

Credit: Guomei Tang, PhD and Mark S. Sonders, PhD/Columbia University Medical Center

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in the August 21 online issue of the journal Neuron.

A drug that restores normal synaptic pruning can improve autistic-like behaviors in mice, the researchers found, even when the drug is given after the behaviors have appeared.

“This is an important finding that could lead to a novel and much-needed therapeutic strategy for autism,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at CUMC and director of New York State Psychiatric Institute, who was not involved in the study.

Although the drug, rapamycin, has side effects that may preclude its use in people with autism, “the fact that we can see changes in behavior suggests that autism may still be treatable after a child is diagnosed, if we can find a better drug,” said the study’s senior investigator, David Sulzer, PhD, professor of neurobiology in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pharmacology at CUMC.

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Media violated professional standards

International media failed professionally and ethically in Gaza

According to civilian death toll measure, Nazi Germany – which had one million dead civilians in World War II – was a victim of the aggressive US, which lost ‘only’ 12,000 civilians. The New York Times and the BBC, which emphasized the “victim competition,” are now admitting that the reported number of civilian deaths contradicts statistical tests. This is a professional failure.

Eytan Gilboa , August, 13, 2014, YNet News

The media coverage of wars affects the global public opinion, leaders and decision making. Its trends can determine the results just as much as what it achieved in the battlefield.

The main problem presented in the media during all of Israel’s wars and operations in the past decade is proportionality and the number of civilian casualties. The media is the main source of information on the extent, type and source of losses.

Media Bias

The international media’s hypocrisy – the Hamas case / Yossi Levy

Op-ed: Most of the international media have decided for you in advance that Israel is the bad guy in the story. It focuses on every Gaza casualty while ignoring civilian deaths in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya and Kenya.

Full op-ed

The coverage of Operation Protective Edge and the civilian casualties in the global media, mainly in the West, was characterized by an anti-Israel bias and serious professional and ethical failures. They appeared in all components of the journalistic coverage: Pictures, headlines, reports, editorials and cartoons.

The images from Gaza showed only what Hamas permitted the media to broadcast and describe. Hamas terrorized and censored journalists. It only allowed them to broadcast images of destruction and killing of civilians, particularly women and children, and staged situations on the ground.

There were no images of rockets launched from populated areas and from within UNRWA schools, mosques and hospitals. There were only images of civilians’ bodies and funerals and very few images of Hamas fighters, if any.

Media outlets around the world failed to mention the restricting conditions they had operated under in Gaza, which unavoidably led to false and misleading reports.

Only after they left Gaza, few journalists like the Italian Gabriele Barbati and the French Gallagher Fenwick dared to expose the way Hamas terrorized journalists, its use of civilians as human shields and its failed launches which resulted in the killing of children, like at the Shati refugee camp on July 28. This is an ethical failure.

The media have turned the civilian death toll into the only measure of the justness of the Israeli warfare. The New York Times and Haaretz, for instance, published the Gaza death toll on their front pages every day. The message is clear: The higher the number of civilian casualties, the more “war crimes” Israel is committing.

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World still loves to blame Jews

Dear World

World, it seems like whatever Jewish people do, whatever contributions we make to the societies in which we live, however much we keep our heads down and try to contribute only positives without making a fuss, it is never enough to stem the hatred, it is never enough for you.

Blake Ezra

Blake Ezra , August 9, 2014

Blake Ezra is a London based writer on Middle Eastern Politics and the Jewish World.


Dear world, I’m writing to you from a place of despair and confusion. When I say ‘world’, I don’t simply mean the planet upon which we all live but I address personally whoever is reading this. As a Jewish person, I have a question for you. It’s a genuine question to which I can’t find a suitable answer through my own thoughts… What do you want from us?

I’m writing from London, where only yesterday a black Islamic flag was flown from an estate in Tower Hamlets, and a passer-by was shouted at by a group of Muslim youths, “Fuck off Jew, you’re not welcome here.” In the past month, in the supposedly liberated and forward thinking capital of England, a Swastika has been daubed onto a Jewish home, protestors have carried placards with slogans such as ‘Hitler Was Right’, and an independent arts venue has imposed sanctions upon an apolitical Jewish Film Festival.

In Scotland, a property sales consultant called Richard Ladd, a professional suit-wearing gentleman who deals with the public each day, tweeted “Shut up you ugly Jewish c***. If only Hitler was still around to sort you out” to a Jewish footballer. In France, rioters have looted and burned Jewish shops, and attacked synagogues. In Germany, two Jewish people were attacked only for being Jewish, and an Imam in Berlin told his congregants, “Count the Jews and kill them to the very last one.” In Belgium, a café has displayed a sign banning Jews from entering, and four people were indiscriminately murdered on the street outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Flags of Hamas and Hezbollah, both of whom call for death to Jews, have been flown in cities including Sydney and Vancouver. The cover of Newsweek Magazine recently featured the headline ‘Why Europe’s Jews Are Fleeing Once Again’. World, shockingly I really could go on for much longer, but hopefully you get the picture…

I don’t feel safe as a Jewish person in my own city at this moment in time, and this is a sentiment shared by many of my co-religionists, regardless of their levels of religious observance or political affiliations – it is solely due to the religion into which they were born. It is truly difficult to believe I’m writing such a post, condemning the most vicious forms of racism with masses of people in numerous countries genuinely calling for death to Jews, whilst using a military situation in the Middle East as their excuse to make these ferocious desires appear somewhat justifiable. Perhaps Lord Rabbi Sacks, a respected thinker and former Chief Rabbi of the UK, summed it up better than I could in the British House of Lords last week: “My Lords forgive me, if I say that I did not expect 120 years after the Dreyfus Case and 70 year after the Holocaust, that the cry of ‘Death to the Jews’ would be heard again in the streets of France and Germany.”

World, what do you want from us? I’m not asking in order to be prosaic, in order to write for writing’s sake. I’m asking because I genuinely don’t know. Trust me, as I sit here fearing for what my city may become in the next five or ten years, I’m really trying to answer the question, but I can’t. There is a passage in the Passover service read by Jewish people every year; it lists the gifts that God has given to us. After each one we say “Dayenu”, which in modern vernacular means, “This would have been enough for us.” World, it seems like whatever Jewish people do, whatever contributions we make to the societies in which we live, however much we keep our heads down and try to contribute only positives without making a fuss, it is never enough to stem the hatred, it is never enough for you.

The Jewish people have never constituted a large proportion of the population of this planet, yet have given humanity so much. Jewish people who have helped shape our world include Gabriel Lippmann, Nobel Prize Winner for Physics in 1908 for inventing colour photography, Albert Einstein with his theory of relativity, and Jonas Salk who invented the first vaccine for polio. What about Levi Strauss, who’s probably creditable for the trousers you’re wearing right now, Ephraim Hertzano who invented the game of Rummikub, or Nat Rothschild and Moses Montefiore who helped Britain become ‘Great’. What about any of the 193 Jewish Nobel Prize winners across the fields of Medicine, Economics, Literature and Peace?

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