New Israeli technology may replace biopsies

New Israeli tissue sampling technology may replace painful, risky biopsies – Xinhua

JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — Israeli researchers have developed a new technology for sampling tissues without the pain and risk of biopsy tests, Tel Aviv University (TAU) in central Israel reported Wednesday.

The innovative method, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is based on the physical technique of electroporation, the application of high voltage pulsed electric fields to tissues, to sample intracellular fluids only and not whole tissue.

Current cancer treatment courses often begin with tissue biopsies, which may lead to localized tissue injury, bleeding, inflammation, and stress, as well as increased risk of metastasis.

Another disadvantage of biopsy tests is that the sample taken this way is local and does not provide comprehensive mapping on the entire tumor.

The new method, however, avoids these negative consequences, by using electric field to increase the penetrability of the cell membrane.

For the research, the scientists used electroporation to extract proteins and RNA from several normal human tissues, including liver tissues, and from a liver cancer model in mice.

It was found then that the molecular profiles of the measured samples were reliable and accurate.

Unlike biopsy tests, the new method does not damage the tissue and can detect the presence of a tumor in an organ even when the exact location of the tumor is unknown.

It can also allow sampling from various locations and comprehensive mapping of the tissue or tumor.

The researchers now plan to develop a device for local extraction, thus enabling tumor heterogeneity mapping and the probing of tumor environment molecular composition.

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Israel turns trash into treasure

Revolutionary recycling? A new technology turns everyday trash into plastic treasure.

KIBBUTZ TZE’ELIM, Israel — Eight tons of trash are piled high at the entrance of a small factory in this tree-lined kibbutz — rotting food mixed with plastic bags, dirty paper, castoff bottles and containers, even broken toys. But nothing is headed for a landfill. Instead, what’s next is a process that could revolutionize recycling.

Within hours, the mound will be sorted, ground, chopped, shredded, cleaned and heated into a sort of garbage caramel, then resurrected as tiny pseudo-plastic pellets that can be made into everyday items like trays and packing crates.

“The magic that we’re doing is we’re taking everything — the chicken bones, the banana peels,” says Jack “Tato” Bigio, the chief executive at UBQ Materials. “We take this waste, and we convert it.”

Jack “Tato” Bigio, chief executive of UBQ Materials, stands atop a pile of shredded garbage. His company will convert the trash into pellets that can be used in manufacturing plastic. (Jonas Opperskalski for The Washington Post)

Such upcycling is desperately needed by a world seeking solutions to the environmental challenges caused by the 2 billion tons of waste generated annually. Turning that trash into treasure has long held allure. Yet attempts have fallen short, and cynics abound.

UBQ says it has succeeded where others have failed, creating a radical technology that transforms garbage into the raw materials for plastics manufacturers and earns them a profit in the end.

And by diverting household refuse destined for long-term burial, the process will help to reduce landfill production of a powerful greenhouse gas while creating new life for hard-to-recycle plastic. The loop exemplifies a “circular economy,” in which waste is turned into something useful.

One skeptic turned convert calls it a breakthrough that could, in the best way, “create very serious disruption.”

“If we want to advance to a more sustainable future, we don’t only need new technologies, but new business models,” said Antonis Mavropoulos, a Greek chemical engineer who is president of the International Solid Waste Association. He visited UBQ’s plant here in the Negev Desert and came away convinced. “In this case, we have a byproduct worth a very good price in the market.”

UBQ’s process uses discarded food, containers, wrappers and other trash typically destined for landfills. (Jonas Opperskalski for The Washington Post)

UBQ’s process uses discarded food, containers, wrappers and other trash typically destined for landfills.

Others are still dubious, though they have softened their tone recently. Duane Priddy is the chief executive of the Plastic Expert Group and a former principal scientist at Dow Chemical. Until a call last month with UBQ executives, he and his group had scoffed at their claims. Now they’re keeping a more open mind.

“Although we remain skeptical, we look forward to evaluating UBQ products and continuing to learn more about the UBQ technology to further validate their findings and broad applications,” the group said in a statement. Should the technology prove commercially viable, “it could be a game changer for the global environment.”

The company’s push is part of a broader effort during the past several decades as the colossal scope of the world’s waste problem grew impossible to ignore. One approach has been to excavate existing sites, in part to recover potentially valuable debris. The strategy hasn’t proved profitable, however.

UBQ aims to keep trash from ever going into landfills.

An analysis it commissioned by the Swiss environmental consulting firm Quantis found that keeping decomposing organic waste out of landfills and using it to create second-generation plastics could significantly cut methane, the gas that in the short term contributes more to global warming than carbon dioxide. Substituting a ton of UBQ’s pellets for the same amount of polypropylene saves the equivalent of about 15 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, Quantis concluded; adding as little as 10 percent of its material can make the result carbon neutral, depending on the type of plastic being created.

What’s the “magic” behind this? Executives are coy, but biotechnology expert Oded Shoseyov, a Hebrew University professor who has consulted for UBQ, says melting plastics and waste creates a homogeneous substance strengthened by fibers in the organic ingredients.

So far, that alchemy only happens at the plant in Kibbutz Tze’elim, population 464.

A Bedouin woman, her face almost completely covered by a black veil, was among several people at work at the first stage of the process on a Sunday morning. She plucked out a variety of items — larger things like shoes and coffee machines are culled at this point — while household flotsam moved along a short conveyor belt.

Next up were two automated cullings, one involving a magnetized oval track, to eliminate both ferrous and nonferrous metals. Then the waste was shredded and ground into brownish-gray confetti before more sorting, this time targeting glass and rocks.

These stinky prep stages can vary. Bigio says UBQ works to a customer’s specifications for characteristics like tensile strength and flexibility. If its material is going to be used in injection molding, trash is sorted again and again to remove glass and metals that could damage delicate molds. If the material’s final fate is for use in construction — in composite brick, for example — the sorting is less rigorous.

The conversion process

Step 1: At UBQ’s plant, the transformation process starts with untreated garbage.

Step 2: The garbage is sorted, dried, shredded and ground into a brownish-gray confetti.

Step 3: The confetti is melted, pulverized and transformed into thermoplastic strands.

Step 4: The strands are cut into pellets that a plastics manufacturer will use in making various products.

Step 5: The round or cylindrical pellets come in an array of customer-requested colors.

Step 6: A pen holder made of UBQ material resembles the design of the original UBQ bin.

The conversion process

Step 1: At UBQ’s plant, the transformation process starts with untreated garbage.

Step 2: The garbage is sorted, dried, shredded and ground into a brownish-gray confetti.

Step 3: The confetti is melted in a secret process, pulverized and transformed into thermoplastic strands.

Step 4: The strands are cut into pellets that a plastics manufacturer will use in making various products.

Step 5: The round or cylindrical pellets come in an array of customer-requested colors.

Step 6: A pen holder made of UBQ material resembles the design of the original UBQ bin.

Regardless, there’s one final check and cleaning using near-infrared spectroscopy.

“In UBQ, nothing goes to waste,” Bigio said as he led visitors on a tour, past dunes of confetti awaiting their metamorphosis. “Metals and glass go to recyclers. There’s no water in the process, so it’s really efficient in terms of the environment.”

The conversion stage takes place in an adjacent building. As much as five tons of waste can be fed into a red hopper leading to a multi-chamber reactor that sits behind a closed sliding door to block prying eyes. Temperatures up to 400 degrees break down the organic matter into its core elements, and then it and the plastics are re-engineered into a matrix through chemical and physical reactions that UBQ keeps secret.

The result is something of a tongue twister that seems too good to be true, what Bigio calls “a thermoplastic, composite, bio-based, sustainable, climate-positive material.”

That is pulverized into a gray powder that looks and feels like ashes, the afterlife of people’s waste. The final stage turns the powder into long, spaghetti-like strands that are cooled and cut into round or cylindrical pellets in an array of colors — forest green, bright orange, firehouse red, basic black, plus others.

Getting this far has taken some time. The company has been shepherded for about a decade by Rabbi Yehuda Pearl, a businessman who built Sabra into a hummus superpower before selling his interest to PepsiCo for nearly $50 million. Its pilot facility opened in 2013, and scientists, technicians and other staff spent the next several years on below-the-radar research and testing to ensure the green credentials and profitability of their product.

Pearl, a soft-spoken man with a grandfatherly bearing, said the team wanted to be “bulletproof” given the doubters they’d inevitably face. The company, which these days has more than three dozen employees, holds patents in Israel, the United States, Canada, China, India, South Korea and other countries.

Now UBQ — short for ubiquitous — is stepping into the market. It has publicly acknowledged just one customer, an Israeli company named Plasgad that makes pallets, crates and other products. In August, UBQ announced that 2,000 Plasgad-manufactured recycling bins were headed to the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority. Those bins, made with UBQ pellets, can be recycled in the future using the UBQ process.

According to Pearl, the company is in advanced talks with numerous Fortune 1000 firms interested in utilizing its material. Prominent names are on its board as advisers, including Roger Kornberg, a Stanford professor and Nobel laureate for chemistry.

This glimmer of hope for recycling is timely. The latest data show that Americans generate 262.4 million tons of waste a year — about 4.4 pounds per person per day. Where to put it is increasingly problematic. In 2018, China blocked the import of most plastic waste, essentially forcing more into landfills around the world. Some U.S. cities have ended their recycling programs.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: A machine blends additives and colors to the melted trash material during a final stage at UBQ’s plant in Israel. The result comes out as spaghetti-like strands, which are cut into tiny pseudo-plastic pellets. Engineer Sami Zoaida oversees the production of pencil holders made from the UBQ pellets.

FROM LEFT: Engineer Sami Zoaida oversees the production of pencil holders made from the UBQ pellets. A machine blends additives and colors to the melted trash material during a final stage at UBQ’s plant in Israel. The result comes out as spaghetti-like strands, which are cut into tiny pseudo-plastic pellets.

UBQ Materials is itself a recycled, upcycled idea. The company’s genesis traces back to a member of the Israeli armed forces who received compensation after he developed cancer during training dives in the polluted Kishon River. As Shoseyov recounted, the soldier took the money and started a company to mix plastic with polluted mud from the river — what he thought would be an inexpensive solution to encasing toxic substances in the riverbed. Scientists, Shoseyov said, would never have pursued such an outlandish concept.

Pearl invested $3.5 million in it, however. And while that first venture went bankrupt, he consulted with experts and decided the core idea had promise. He obtained the original patents and formed UBQ in 2012. The big breakthrough came when he asked whether the material could be liquefied enough to flow, a feat many experts told him was near impossible.

In the laboratory, the first tests replaced 10 percent of plastic with UBQ material in an injection molding machine. It worked, creating a small cup. Gradually, the amount of UBQ material was increased. Even at 90 percent, that garbage caramel still flowed.

The team continues investigating new applications and testing characteristics like durability. UBQ says its material doesn’t break down and can have more than half a dozen lives, unlike most plastics, which can be recycled only once or twice because they degrade. Research has shown that additives can also be blended in to provide flame retardant or UV protection.

“This lab is the heart of the company,” said Bigio, a businessman by training. He has lived in Israel since 1984, though his native Peruvian accent comes through in both Hebrew and English.

The plant’s raw material is waste hauled from Tel Aviv’s Hiriya transfer station, which otherwise would go to a landfill near Beersheba. The company has also imported waste from around the globe to ensure its approach works with garbage from other countries.

A landfill just minutes from the UBQ factory in Kibbutz Tze’elim treats waste the usual way: by burying it. (Jonas Opperskalski for The Washington Post)

The facility can produce about one ton of UBQ material per hour, 5,000 to 7,000 tons annually. Another site, with an annual capacity of up to 100,000 tons, is being planned. Demand is huge, Bigio said, with the global plastic injection industry a $325 billion market. He and Pearl — one working from Israel, the other from New York — say their technology is easily scaled. They say UBQ is already making money on its manufacturing process, though they declined to give specific numbers.

Moving a start-up into the mainstream is a familiar refrain for Pearl. He owned a kosher specialty grocery in Scarsdale, N.Y., when he invested in Sabra in 1994, helping increase revenue from $1 million annually to $7 million in eight years. After he took control of Sabra in 2002, its fortunes skyrocketed. Sales jumped by 50 percent annually. He’s had comparable success with his Long Island synagogue, Anshei Shalom, which started with seven families. Today, it has more than 300.

“It was similar with UBQ,” he says. “I saw the germ of an idea that might be grown and influenced.”

This time, instead of putting hummus in every refrigerator, he’s aiming to put garbage in every piece of plastic.

About this story

Story editing by Susan Levine. Photo editing by Karly Domb Sadof. Copy editing by Anne Kenderdine. Development and design by Andrew Braford.

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Palestinians won’t recognize Jewish state Why are the Palestinians so opposed to the ‘Deal of the Century’? Dr. Mordechai Kedar, 22/05/19 Arutz Sheva Dr. Mordechai Kedar Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in … Continue reading

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PA rewards terror

How Israel Misread Palestinian Intentions

Evan Gottesman

Last weekend’s brief and bloody spat between Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Israel obscured another simmering crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations: the Palestinian Authority’s continued refusal of partial tax transfers from Israel, which has been wielding the revenues as a means to punish the PA for its practice of martyr payments. The ongoing standoff illustrates increasing brinkmanship on the part of the PA, already unpopular with its public. It also lays bare how gravely Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies have misjudged Palestinian motives, both on the PA side and with Hamas in Gaza.

A week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon scrambled to find a way to get the PA to accept tax revenues, which Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf pursuant to the 1994 Paris Protocol. Now the issue at hand is the Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund, and the Israeli government has legislated itself into a corner. Last summer, the Knesset passed a law requiring Israel to deduct from tax revenues an amount equal to PA stipends for Palestinian “martyrs,” prisoners, and their families. A partial transfer would have been consistent with Israeli law and the right-wing government’s political objectives. But the PA has simply returned the money.

Setting aside for a moment that withholding Palestinian tax revenues violates Israel’s obligations under the Paris Protocol, it is also worth noting that in these situations Israel tends to be the party that gets burned. In 2015, for instance, Palestinian tax revenues were withheld after the PA moved to join the International Criminal Court. After a month in which 18,000 PA civil servants received only partial paychecks, Israel released the frozen funds in order to avert lasting damage to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians still joined the ICC.

The overriding Israeli logic about the Palestinian Authority long maintained that the Fatah-led regime can be dragged to the edge of the cliff and held there until it acquiesces to certain demands. The PA is so corrupt and authoritarian that a sense of self-preservation would always supersede whatever ideology the West Bank Palestinian leadership subscribed to. This line of thinking informed previous decisions by Israel to withhold tax revenues over other items like Palestinian membership in international institutions. The Israelis have always hoped that in such situations, the PA could be brought to heel, Israeli objectives fulfilled, and the benefits of the PA’s existence preserved — namely the highly successful security coordination between the IDF and Palestinian paramilitaries. But what the PA is doing now is certainly sticking to its principles, however odious those principles may be.

The United States, having surrendered much of its influence with the Palestinians after completely slashing aid to the West Bank and Gaza, was a non-factor in the past week’s events. The European Union, for its part, fumbled in formulating a solution, suggesting the PA dole out payments to prisoners and families based on their socio-economic status rather than the severity of the crimes they are jailed for (as the Martyrs Fund currently operates). The Palestinian Authority also rejected this proposal, which represents a serious misreading of Palestinian motivations. They are not simply welfare checks; rewarding armed resistance is exactly the point. This is widely popular in Palestinian society and is one of the few things the PA can put before their homegrown detractors as concrete evidence that they are not just collaborators with the occupation.

There are a two conceivable ways out of this crisis, but each of them represents a loss for Israel. If the Palestinian Authority continues to resist tax transfers, its actions will have serious repercussions across the West Bank, where the PA is the largest employer. Economic woes beget unrest, and some in the Israeli government think they are looking at the PA’s imminent collapse (creating a vacuum that is sure to be filled by Hamas and other extremists). While Israeli officials have expressed similar fears before, the ongoing dispute is more protracted than previous episodes. On the flip side, if Netanyahu caves, he will contravene a law his own government passed and once again demonstrate that Israel is operating unenforceable red lines on Palestinian conduct.

This brings us back to Gaza, where Netanyahu has conceded his strategy is to shore up Hamas in order to keep the PA-ruled West Bank areas and the Strip separate polities and forestall progress toward a two-state solution (which would require a politically unified Palestinian entity). Yet this strategy requires de facto propping up a terror organization at the expense of the internationally recognised West Bank Palestinian leadership. I am not suggesting uprooting Hamas through military means, but it bears repeating that the group only practices pragmatism in the short-run in service of a fanatical long-term agenda that includes the elimination of the State of Israel. Hamas appears to have extracted a number of benefits from the ceasefire following the latest round of fighting, including an infusion of Qatari cash temporarily delayed the previous weekend. Israelis may disagree with PA methods, such as attempts to join international organisations, but such campaigns are decidedly nonviolent. Hamas, by contrast, accrues favours through massive border demonstrations and rocket attacks that claim civilian lives and place much of south-central Israel in a state of siege. Israel has official relations with the West Bank Palestinian government and its security arrangements with the PA are overseen by a three-star American general. Israel’s ties with Hamas are, by contrast, conducted covertly through Egyptian mediators. The Israeli government may not like the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, but the events of the last seven days should serve as a stark reminder that one is a far less bad option than the other.

This article was previously published in Israel Policy Exchange of the Israel Policy Forum on 6 May 2019. Israel Policy Exchange is a collaborative blog dedicated to Israeli politics and society, the regional politics of the Middle East, Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and the two-state solution, and issues affecting the American Jewish community.

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We must remember the Holocaust

Jewish Survival after the Holocaust

  By Ron Jager 

This week, as Israel will be commemorating the most pivotal event in the history of the world during the last millennium; the Holocaust, and the annihilation of the Six million Jews who perished during this dark period, one cannot escape the sense of “deja vu” as we witness these days Jews being shot in Synagogues, bullied and physically attacked as they walk the streets of major American and European cities ; to the daily demarcation and defacing of Jewish stores, Jewish cemeteries, and Jewish institutions. This “new normal” are familiar if not identical to acts during the years of the Holocaust and reminiscent of how the world stood silently by as Jews were singled out, as has been the case throughout the generations.

Seven decades after the end of World War II, most American Jews say remembering the Holocaust is essential to what being Jewish means to them, personally. In a Pew Research Poll “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” in response to the question “What’s Essential to Being Jewish?” the No. 1 “essential” was “remembering the Holocaust.” Seventy-three percent of respondents listed the Holocaust as the primary essential of Jewish identity as opposed to, for example, “Leading an Ethical and Moral Life” (69 percent), “Caring about Israel” (43 percent) and “Observing Jewish law” (19 percent). In other words, most American Jews, living in an incredibly tolerant, open, and accepting society in which they are free to practice their faith, still identify with something that did not happen to them nor did it happen in the country in which they live (and in many cases, did not happen to any members of their family).

Yet despite this overwhelming admission by American Jews, and despite the daily Anti-Semitic events occurring throughout America, more and more voices can be heard stating that it’s time for Jews to get over the Holocaust and suggest that now is the time for Jews to move on and stop making the Holocaust the most pivotal event in Jewish history. These same voices have even suggested that Jews should stop obsessing over the Holocaust. Some Jewish academicians have taken this one step further and are claiming that the modern tradition of commemorating the Holocaust, an event founded on the oppression and persecution of Jews, is actually inhibiting the emergence of a new type of Jew that trusts the world enough to view themselves as an integral part of an open society. They advocate the normalization of the Holocaust and too viewing it in its proper perspective and suggest that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special than other historical events. They claim that although the Holocaust was on a much greater scale and horrifically well-organized, it was far from the first incident of a dominant power killing those deemed “inferior” on trumped up charges, and essentially not that different from what’s going on in recent years in the Middle East.

For many of these liberal Jewish academicians, mankind has been perpetrating horrible atrocities on other human beings for centuries. They seem genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust denial is even considered a crime in over a dozen countries. Surely, as far as they are concerned, this is an overreaction. Do we arrest those that believe and express the opinion that the world is flat?  Why should denial of a historical event even be considered a crime, something detrimental to society?

Historical events, as earth-shattering and history-ending as they seem at the time, eventually fade from the forefront of public consciousness and become memory. When Holocaust survivors will no longer be around, and when there is no more opportunity to let children and educators hear firsthand testimony of the Holocaust, will the Holocaust be just another event studied in world history classes? With all of the effort that has gone into recording testimonies of the Holocaust be enough to preserve historical memory in terms of the magnitude and uniqueness of the Holocaust?

There are few historical events that have undergone greater scrutiny and preservation. Perhaps we can even acknowledge that we’ve done enough to ensure that the Holocaust can never be forgotten. In a moral world, in a world that differentiates between good and evil, right and wrong, this kind of preservation of historical memory would probably suffice. However, today in the age of globalization in which everything is viewed through the prism of cultural relativism, facts and evidence are not enough, the enemies of the Jews and of Israel not only claim that the Jews exaggerate and that the Holocaust was made up so as to justify the establishment of the State of Israel, but they take this one step further and falsely claim that Israel itself is implementing a Holocaust on the Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria.

Sadly yet not surprising, many Jews are not immune from the politically correct trivialization of the Holocaust and acceptance of universalism as the intellectual context of interpreting world events. Yet, Jewish identity that ignores or belittles or moves beyond the systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish race seventy-five years ago cannot possibly fathom the significance and importance of the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish people made a conscience effort to rebuild out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Those that regard the Holocaust as just another unfortunate event cannot be depended on to understand that for modern Israel, in order to deal with existential threats, Israel must do whatever is necessary to ensure that “never again” will not remain an empty slogan.

Those that depict the Holocaust as just another historical event should be reminded of what the Holocaust was all about. In Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, he describes in detail the core horror of Nazi action in collaboration with locals in Bolechow, Poland, September 1942:

                The story of Mrs. Grynberg was a horrible episode. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping entreaties of bystanders didn’t help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall. There, she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth as she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown – It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her. She stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

In every generation, the Jewish people have had to deal with the threat of annihilation. In ancient Egypt, it seemed that the Jews would be gone. In ancient Persia, it looked like Haman would have his way and annihilate the Jewish nation. Yet, all of those so-called great and powerful empires have disappeared never to return and against all odds, we, the Jewish nation are still around. Not just surviving, but thriving not only in Israel but throughout the Jewish world.

The enormity of the Holocaust, however, with the majority of European Jewry being systematically murdered, is a singular event that defies comparison in the last millennium. In retrospect, the Holocaust compels Jews to confront their own Jewishness. After such unspeakable events such as the one described above, every Jew must look inside themselves and consider: Hitler tried to exterminate my people and the world stood by in silence. Will I, through apathy and indifference, become a partner to Hitler? Or will my life convey a testimony to the glory of the Jewish people and its resurrection from the ashes? That is the real reason that it’s not the time for Jews to “get over and move beyond” the Holocaust nor agree to rebrand the Holocaust as just another sad episode in world history.

The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. He was former strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria.

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History of Evolution theory

Evolution of The Theory of Evolution

Kashyap Vyas

“I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious a hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity it has.”

These popular words were said by Malcolm Muggeridge. Little did the English journalist know that Darwin’s theory of evolution would go on to gain more than just a little “credibility” with time.

The predominant basis of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin is that all species are related in some way and they tend to change over a period of time gradually. This theory encompasses the widely accepted and well-established scientific view in the 21st century that life on Earth has changed organically with time.


What Is the History of The Theory of Evolution?

Every February 12, we celebrate Darwin’s Day. Why? It is the date on which he was born and also because he is considered to be the father of the theory of evolution in addition to being the “pater” of biology.

For this reason, throughout the world, thousands of institutions and individuals do something to celebrate the incredible work of this naturalist hundreds of years ago. For that reason, today, let us understand the theory of evolution with this easy guide!

Charles Darwin Portrait
Source: Jan Vilimek/Wikimedia Commons

The theory of evolution is how a corpus is known, i.e., a set of scientific knowledge and evidence that explains the phenomenon of biological evolution. This explains that all living beings do not simply appear out of thin air and that they have an origin and they change little by little over time.

Occasionally, these changes cause two different species to emerge from the same living being or ancestor. These two species, in this context, are sufficiently different so that they can be separately recognized without any kind of doubts.

The gradual changes in these living beings are known as evolution because the living being changes towards becoming something different.

Evolution is mediated by something usually called “natural selection,” although this term is very vague. A correct term is a selective pressure.

This explains that all living beings come from somewhere and keep on changing with time. This term is understood as a factor that “influences” these changes in one direction.

For example, the dryness of a desert will pressure all species to have a greater resistance to dehydration while the less adapted ones will die and will be lost in history. Evolutionary changes, as we can already deduce, are usually adaptive, which implies that it is all about the survival of the fittest.

The fittest adapt to the changes while the others wither away. The theory of evolution is not simple and has grown enormously during the history of biology.

Today, this subject is so large and extensive that specific sections of it are studied at length. In addition to that, some specialists are dedicated exclusively to understanding the very specific parts of Darwin’s theory.

When Did the Theory of Evolution Appear?

The origin of the theory of evolution has a specific date, and it is the publication of the book “The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin himself. Although in reality, the idea of evolution and several related concepts can be traced to much earlier times, the truth is that the controversial publication of his book provoked a reaction that has no equal.

To this day, this book clearly establishes the bases around which the basic “axioms” of biology revolve. And that happened on November 24, 1859.

In it, Darwin explained his hypothesis (demonstrated widely later) of how species of living beings evolve and how natural selection (and selective pressure) push that change.

Where Was the Theory of Evolution Created?

Although “The Origin of Species” was published in England, the truth is that the emergence of the theory of evolution was developed much earlier. Historians place this moment in Darwin’s voyages aboard the “Beagle,” a British explorer brig.

On his second mission, a young Darwin was added to the crew, whose education and interest in geology and nature, as well as some family issues, opened the door to his passage. During his trips around the world (literally), which lasted five years, Darwin acted as a naturalist (the classic concept of biology), collecting all kinds of information for the English empire and the crew.

Thus, during the crossing, he came across several islands and their species. The modifications and characteristics of these, as well as their geological knowledge and the influence of several acquaintances, instilled in his minds the idea of evolution in living beings.

Especially striking is the case of the finches of the Galapagos Islands in his book. However, it took several decades to mature the idea that, finally, and not without many dilemmas and some tragedy, resulted in “The Origin of Species,” the germ of the theory of evolution.

Who Proposed the Theory of Evolution?

Well, it is obvious, at this point, that the father of the theory of evolution was Charles Darwin. This is what we have seen so far.


But the theory is not only due to him and much less the current state of it. Skipping to some classics, it would be unforgivable not to name Alfred Russel Wallace, a naturalist, and geographer, as well as an explorer very similar in spirit to Darwin.

His more modest position than Charles probably put him a few steps behind the father of the theory of evolution. However, Wallace himself reached conclusions similar to those of Darwin even before he did.

It was actually a letter from him that ended up putting the ideas in the head of the most famous naturalist in history.

Final Words

Regardless of who came up with the theory of evolution, it cannot be argued that today this mere notion all those years ago has turned into something that has massive credibility.


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BDS is vile

GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw: BDS supporters operate in ‘fantasy world’ |

By Jackson Richman

(April 3, 2019 / JNS) Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw defeated Democrat Todd Litton in Texas’ 2nd Congressional District in the 2018 midterm elections to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ted Poe.

He was catapulted into the spotlight by “Saturday Night Live” actor Pete Davidson, who made fun of the patch that Crenshaw wears over his right eye, which was lost after the Navy SEAL was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2012 during his third of five tours overseas (Davidson offered an apology to Crenshaw, who accepted it and even took some zingers at him, along with conveying a unifying message for the audience).

Along with five then-incoming freshmen members of Congress, Crenshaw participated on a trip to Israel in December organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s American Israel Education Fund to learn about the U.S.-Israel relationship.

JNS talked with Crenshaw in person. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: What’s your overall stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship since being there in December?

A: I’m supportive. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. We need to support the U.S.-Israel relationship. It’s important for Israel, our allies, but also for the U.S. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

Q: How’s it mutually beneficial?

A: Conflict in the Middle East never stays contained in the Middle East. The world is a small place, and so U.S. leadership abroad has always been an important part of maintaining the liberal global order that has been underwritten by the United States since World War II. With that in mind, we should always be looking for strong allies that share our values. The Jewish state clearly shares our values, so we should support it for moral reasons, and we should support it for strategic reasons.

Q: Having served abroad, were you able to see Israel’s threats firsthand?

A: My deployments in the Middle East gave me an insight into the human element there, gave me a more realistic understanding of what Israelis are dealing within the context of Middle Eastern politics and how different that is from Western civilization. A lot of people who are skeptical of Israel and the United States, who are forming a BDS movement, are operating in a fantasy world where they actually don’t understand what the Middle East is all about.

Being in Israel, you get a much more direct look at what they’re dealing with. You’re in a country whose population is close to that in my county. That’s pretty significant especially when you’re surrounded by your enemies. It’s hard for many Americans to imagine what that might be like; you really have to go there to understand that. You have Hamas fully in control of the Gaza Strip—well-armed, raining down rockets on Israeli civilians indiscriminately. You have Hezbollah to the north—digging tunnels to the Lebanese border, trying to infiltrate Israel for no other purpose than to kill Israelis. You have ISIS in Syria. There’s a long history of Israel’s Arab neighbors attempting to invade and end the Jewish state, so, for good reason, we should be worried about Israel’s security. And Iran, a powerful country that seeks to destroy Israel—and says as much and funds proxies both with Hamas and Hezbollah in order to meet those ends.

Q: What is your reaction to the president’s modified announcement most U.S. troops will withdraw from Syria? 

A: I appreciate the modified announcement. I worked with the White House on that, as have a lot of members of Congress. I do appreciate the president is a guy who is willing to listen. It’s not the perfect outcome; I would’ve preferred the status quo. But it’s definitely better than the original withdrawal. Those troops can still serve an important purpose, even drawing down to that amount because they serve as a deterrent in many ways. It’s much easier to bolster a small presence quickly.

Q: Does the U.S. military need to combat Iranian forces in Syria, including Hezbollah? Do we need a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force?

A: I’m always open to restructuring a new AUMF. The last AUMF was passed in 2001. We now have different threats that the current AUMF may not include, so I’m open to renegotiating that. It needs to represent our current national security means.

Q: What’s your reaction to some of the anti-Israel verbiage coming from Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib? 

A: It represents a growing movement on the left that is deeply anti-Israel and I believe closely connected with anti-Semitism more generally. It’s hard to deny that at this point. I find it extremely troubling that Democrats couldn’t unequivocally condemn it. [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t “understand” words. That’s an absurd statement. Of course, she understands what she’s saying. She’s been trying to tell us all of this for years actually. She’s not confused. She knows exactly what she believes and she states it. And she shouldn’t be on the Foreign Affairs Committee as a result.

Q: Should Omar be removed from her other committee assignments?

A: I stop short there, no. Foreign Affairs Committee, in particular, because that deals with foreign affairs; it deals with our relationship with Israel. In the end, I do respect a fellow member of Congress’s free speech. The reason we called for her to be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee is because when party leadership assigns you to a committee, it is an indication that we agree with your stances on that committee.

For example, a Republican wouldn’t be placed on the Ways and Means Committee if that Republican always wanted to raise taxes. They don’t agree with our platform, so they would not put them on that committee.

By putting her on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic leadership is indicating they agree with her stance against Israel.

Q: How is that different than Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), who was eventually removed from all of his committee assignments? 

A: It’s different because we hold our people accountable, and they don’t.

Q: What was your reaction to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates announcing they’d boycott this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, even though they weren’t invited by the organization?

A: The fact that they felt the need to make the statement was troubling. They could’ve just stayed silent on it; they weren’t going to go anyway and nobody would’ve faulted them for it. But they felt the need to make a statement about which, again, is troubling. It indicates they are catering to a far-left base. In this case, it was They wanted to signal to this base that they’re with them, and that they do engage in this anti-Israel rhetoric. They’re going to learn quickly that they can’t have it both ways.

I’ve always welcomed nuance in every issue, but it’s very clear the direction the Democratic Party is going when you have a good portion of the leading presidential candidates unequivocally stating they’re not going to AIPAC and participate there.

Q: You opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. What’s your stance on the waivers some countries received over importing Iranian oil?

A: I think we should look at each waiver pretty carefully.

Q: What was your reaction to the United States relocating its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

A: Supportive, unequivocally. It’s the right thing to do. Every president said they would do that, and they didn’t. They didn’t have a good reason as to why not, and I’m really happy to see our president actually be bold and keep the promises he made.

Q: What was your reaction to America recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights?

A: Supportive, unequivocally. What we’re supporting is a reality we all knew existed, and we needed to just say it. We need to go further and put it in a statute to support the president’s decision on this. There is no reason to ever even consider the notion of Syria having the Golan Heights. It is a military high ground that historically was used to bomb Israeli civilians. There’s no reason to think that, especially given the current Syria regime, supported by Iran, there’s no reason to consider ceding that over.

Q: What’s your stance on American taxpayer funding for the Palestinian Authority even for humanitarian purposes?

A: I agree with the president that we need to make a strong stand on this and say that if you’re giving payments to Palestinian terrorists for committing terrorism, that money shouldn’t be coming from the United States taxpayer. We need to be continuing to pressure the Palestinian Authority to avoid that kind of what is really a moral crisis. I support the president’s decision to scale that back considerably.

Q: What are your thoughts on America supporting Lebanese Armed Forces, who have worked with Hezbollah?

A: The American relationship with Lebanon is important. It’s important because if we leave there, that gets completely taken over by Hezbollah. I would caution everyone to be purist on the American relationship with Lebanon. Israel needs the United States inside Lebanon. It’s extremely important for Israeli security because there is a real fear that Hezbollah continues to gain even more influence in the Lebanese, and that’s the last thing we want to see.

Q: What’s your reaction to the anti-BDS component of the Senate bill that would also strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel and Jordan, in addition to enacting fresh sanctions against Syria, citing free speech concerns?

A: Those are nonsensical concerns. BDS movements are not about free speech; they are a concerted effort to destroy a nation’s economy. That’s not free speech. That’s vile. That’s contempt for the Jewish state. To say it’s free speech is a really wrong talking point. It wreaks of desperation.

Q: How do you feel about the latest waves of anti-Semitism at home and abroad?

A: We always have to be looking for ways to combat it. A lot of that is through education—through exposing people to what Israel has dealt with, exposing people to those arguments and the realities of those situations because it’s something we have to stomp out. In the modern world, anti-Semitism doesn’t have a place.

Q: Is there anything else our readers should know about you?

A: I personally got to see the magic of Israel and the real sense of the Jewish people there. It really does change you. It’s really such an experience, and I can’t wait to go back.

Posted in Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off on BDS is vile

Real barrier to mideast peace

Cultural obstacles are the real barriers to Israeli-Palestinian peace

“The attacks on civilians, breaking their arms, and beating them, constitute humiliation, disgrace, and injustice,” Nasser Al-Laham, the editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Authority’s Maan News Agency, said about Palestinian rule in the territories.

“Prison cells? Torture? Burn marks?” he asked. “What have we adopted from the Arab countries apart from their garbage?… Is this the kind of homeland we want — a homeland in which I can no longer trust my neighbor? A homeland in which my fellow citizen comes and, in front of my wife, drags me by my feet or by my hair and tramples me underfoot?…  You’re doing this under the pretext of fighting Israel? You’re lying!”

Al-Laham’s outrage, which he voiced in a recent TV interview, puts the lie to the well-entrenched narrative that borders, settlements, and Jerusalem explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Peek below the surface and you will find the cultural obstacles, and the distrust they engender, that really drive the conflict — and that will require nothing short of a Palestinian cultural revolution to erase.

Based on the events of recent days, here are four huge cultural obstacles that prevent progress toward peace:

First, the obstacle of Palestinian rule.

In Gaza, activists launched the “Want to Live” campaign in March to protest rising prices, high unemployment, and new taxes imposed by Hamas, the Jew-hating terrorist group that seized control of the Strip in a bloody coup against the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and today runs it with an iron fist.

In response, Hamas cracked down harshly. Its security forces have beaten women and children with clubs, breaking their arms and legs; raided homes; seized journalists’ equipment; and jailed activists and officials from Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s governing party, which Hamas blames for the protests.

The Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, has condemned the Hamas crackdown, with President Mahmoud Abbas denouncing the “dogs” who sent a Fatah official to the hospital for a beating that required 18 stiches to his head. The Palestinian Authority, however, rules the West Bank in similar dictatorial fashion, brooking no opposition.

Palestinian leaders will need to respect the rights of their own people before we can hope that, at some point, they’ll respect the rights of Israelis to live in peace — which leads to the next obstacle.

Second, the obstacle of Hamas-Fatah conflict.

The two factions are fighting one another with the “only weapon” they have at their disposal to assure their popularity among Palestinians: their continuing efforts to “kill Jews,” as Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch’s director, wrote last week.

As Hamas launched rocket attacks that prompted Israel’s retaliatory bombing of military targets in Gaza, Hamas sought to strengthen itself politically and weaken Fatah by pretending that the latter had condemned its activities.

Hamas falsely accused the spokesman for the Palestinian Authority’s Security Forces of calling Hamas’ action “criminal” and falsely accused the Palestinian Authority’s Police Commissioner of seeking to track down whoever carried out the “spiteful operation” that left an Israeli father of 12 and a soldier dead.

Palestinian factions that compete over who’s more committed to killing Israelis won’t be making peace with Israel any time soon — which leads to the next obstacle.

Third, the obstacle of martyrdom.

“This young man,” Senior Fatah official Mahmoud Al-Aloul said of Omar Abu Laila, who gunned down two Israelis in the West Bank last month and was then killed by Israeli forces, “exercised the choice of the people, this choice that represents all of you that are fighting and all the youth of Palestine.”

It was a sentiment expressed widely by Palestinian officials and writers. Fatah’s Facebook page called the terrorist a “martyr hero;” Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar called him “the most current, quality role model… of Palestinian heroism;” and Palestinian politician Bassam Abu Sharif praised him as a “noble jihad fighter… who solved the problem… who blazed the trail…”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to pay prisoners and the families of “martyrs” who tried to kill Israelis, to meet with prisoners and their families, and to hold events to honor prisoners and “martyrs.”

A Palestinian leadership that turns killers into martyrs won’t be making peace with the country of those they want to kill — which leads to the next obstacle.

Fourth, the obstacle of Israeli rejection.

Not surprisingly, decades of terrorism, Jew-hating, and martyrdom by the Palestinian leadership and people who — let’s not forget — have rejected multiple Israeli officers of a state to call their own have understandably taken their toll on a weary Israeli public.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported in late March that 42 percent of Israelis support some form of West Bank annexation, something that used to be a fringe idea, as compared to 34 percent that still hold out hope for a two-state solution.

So, here’s an idea: Let’s escape the comfort of our irrelevant debates over settlements, borders, and Jerusalem and, for a change, grapple with the cultural obstacles that represent the true barriers to Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is the author of, most recently, “Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World“.

Posted in Islam, Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off on Real barrier to mideast peace