Breaking News: Airport PCR tests over on May 20, 2022 and Revealing the truth behind al-Aqsa and 100 years of lies and When It Comes to Heart Health, Science Says Your Blood Type Matters and Unique Sites of Israel” Biblical Maale (Ascent of) Adumim By Nosson Shulman and 80 Years After Holocaust, World’s Jewish Population Has Yet to Recover By Aryeh Savir,
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Israel will get rid of its COVID testing requirement at Ben-Gurion Airport on May 20, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Sunday.
All travelers, returning Israeli citizens and tourists alike, who arrive at the airport after May 20 will not have to test for coronavirus. In the meantime, Bennett and Horowitz announced that as of Thursday, incoming travelers will be allowed to take a rapid antigen test 24 hours before their flight, as opposed to the PCR test, currently required.
Prior to the policy change, all arriving travelers have been required to take a PCR test upon arrival and go into isolation for 24 hours or until they receive a negative test result. Israel remains one of the few countries in the world that demand travelers be tested upon landing. Most countries with testing requirements allow a PCR test up to 72 hours before a flight, usually only required for unvaccinated travelers.
While a blanket approach to testing is being scrapped, the Health Ministry is exploring a sample testing policy to monitor and prevent the entry of new variants, it said in a statement.
"The health system's concern and preparations for a sixth wave of infections focus on a scenario in which a combined variant will emerge, one that is highly infectious and has the ability to become the dominant strain, similar to Omicron, but also more deadly, such as Delta," the statement read.
In April, about 10 percent of new COVID infections were detected among arrivals from abroad. However, experts who have advocated for continuing airport testing note that it is less important to track how many arriving passengers test positive for the virus, but rather how many are infected with new variants.
Last month, a health official said that testing at entry points into Israel "are intended to identify the entry of new variants from abroad and this is certainly very important. Will sampling give the answer? We'll have to examine this in the coming week."
Health experts have offered a range of possible approaches to detect incoming variants, including testing a sample of people entering the country or officially reducing the list of destination countries that require COVID testing upon arrival in Israel.
Last month, the director of Ichilov Hospital, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, Israel's former COVID czar, tweeted that testing at Ben-Gurion is wasteful and unnecessarily troublesome to people. "In almost no countries [airports] do they ask for a vaccination certificate, Green Pass, PCR or antigen testing. That's right, because the addition of this to coronavirus infections is very marginal," he wrote.
"If everything is smart and right and justified throughout Europe and America, why in Israel are we staying with this," he wrote, adding that in light of the cost of the tests, people "will be paying 60 million shekels to comply with an out-of-date policy." His remarks, considering the country's low infection rates and the hundreds of thousands of Israelis flying abroad, sparked lively public debate ahead of the government's latest policy changes.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
80 Years After Holocaust, World's Jewish Population Has Yet to Recover By Aryeh Savir,
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90
At the end of 2020, the world Jewish population was 15.2 million, still less than it was over 80 years ago in 1939, on the eve of World War II and the Holocaust, when the world Jewish population was 16.6 million, according to a report released by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.
At the end of 2021, the number of persons living in Israel recognized by the Holocaust Survivors' Rights Authority as survivors was about 165,000 persons.
The average age of Holocaust survivors is 85. 19% of them, about 31,000 have passed the age of 90, and over 950 have crossed the age of 100.
60% of the Holocaust survivors are women, about 105,000. Their average age is slightly higher than average and stands at 85.4.
64% of the Survivors are natives of Europe, of which the largest group, 59,900 or 36%, are natives of the former USSR. 19,100 are natives of Romania, constituting 12%, 8,900 are natives of Poland, about 5.5%, 4,500 came from Bulgaria, 2.7%, 2,400 came from Hungary, 1.5%, and 2,300 are natives of Germany.
About 36% of Holocaust Survivors are natives of Asia and North Africa. Of these, 30,600 were natives of Morocco and Algeria. The Jewish communities in these countries suffered from anti-Semitic harassment and various restrictions during the Vichy regime. 18,000, 11%, are Baghdad Jews who survived the Farhud pogrom in Iraq in June 1941. About 7%, 11,000, are from Tunisia and Libya they suffered racial laws and were sent to concentration and labor camps.
The Holocaust brought a tectonic shift in the world's Jewish demography, and while only 449,000, 3% of world Jewry lived in Israel 1939, in 1948, on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, the world Jewish population was 11.5 million, of whom 650,000, 6%, lived in Israel. At the end of 2020, 6.9 of the 15.2 million Jews in the world live in Israel, 45% of the world's Jewish population, and the largest Jewish concentration in the world.
Over 3.5 million people have made Aliyah since 1948, making up 42% of the total population.
Another six million Jews live in the,445,000 live in France,393,000 live in Canada,292,000 live in the United Kingdom,175,000 live in Argentina,150,000 live in Russia,118,000 live in Germany, and118,000 live in Australia.
Revealing the truth behind al-Aqsa and 100 years of lies
You would think that after nearly 100 years of history repeating itself, the media would catch on, but alas the last few weeks proved otherwise.
THEN-DEFENSE MINISTER Moshe Dayan (center), then-IDF chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin (right) and then-OC Central Command Uzi Narkiss walk through Lions' Gate into Jerusalem's Old City in June 1967 during the Six Day War. Dayan demanded the Israeli flag at the Temple Mount be lowered.
(photo credit: ILAN BRUNER/GPO)
More times than can be counted, misinformation regarding the Temple Mount has been used to incite antisemitic violence by Palestinians.
You would think that after nearly 100 years of history repeating itself, the media would catch on, but alas the last few weeks proved otherwise. It's time for the world to understand what's really going on at al-Aqsa Mosque and stop buying into the propaganda games of Palestinian leaders. The media have a responsibility to show the full story of al-Aqsa, and the public deserves to know.
NEARLY 100 years ago in 1929, Muslims in Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem (a Hitler supporter) and his supporters spread the lie that the Jews were plotting to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque. This ignited violent riots in the city, which resulted in the burning of Jewish prayer books at the Western Wall, along with the pillaging of Jewish shops and violence against Jews.
Instead of calming the riots, Husseini used the opportunity to enrage the mob further, leading an angry group of Arabs to mass murder the Jewish community in Hebron, effectively ethnically cleansing the city. This has come to be known as the Hebron massacre, which notably occurred long before the State of Israel was declared in 1948 and of course before the "occupation" in 1967.
It is important to note that there was no such plot to destroy the mosque, and that nothing in fact changed at the Temple Mount.
PALESTINIANS SHOUT slogans at al-Aqsa Mosque compound after riots and clashes with Israeli security forces last week. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Fast-forward to 1948. The Jews were prohibited from practicing their religion at the Western Wall when the Jordanians occupied the Old City. From 1948 to 1967, there was discrimination against Jews of Jerusalem, with the Jordanians even destroying Jewish synagogues and expelling Jews from the Old City. But in 1967, the tide turned as Israel miraculously won the Six Day War and obtained control of the Temple Mount.
Despite the fact the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, Israel decided to allow the status quo to remain at the Temple Mount and give the Jordanian Wakf Islamic religious trust custodianship over al-Aqsa Mosque, so as not to ignite religious tensions. In an astonishing show of good faith, defense minister Moshe Dayan demanded the Israeli flag at the Temple Mount be lowered, and personally oversaw the meetings with Jordanian religious authorities to ensure they maintained the status quo. But even that didn't stop the lies.
The Second Intifada was a massive wave of Palestinian violence in which thousands were killed. The impetus? Ariel Sharon visiting the Temple Mount. Sharon's visit sent shock waves through the Palestinian territories with inaccurate rumors, once again, that Israel was planning to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque. Just as in 1929, Palestinian leaders exacerbated tensions, encouraging violent riots and ultimately an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. Once again, nothing changed in the status quo at the Temple Mount, yet thousands died to "liberate" al-Aqsa.
In 2017, tensions erupted again after metal detectors were installed at the entrance of al-Aqsa Compound in response to a terrorist attack there that killed two Israeli-Arab policemen. This security measure triggered another wave of Palestinian violence. Palestinian leaders incited riots and a "day of rage" over Israel's "aggression" against the Muslim community for the audacity to ensure the safety of Muslim worshippers. Rumors spread like wildfire that Israel was once again "changing the status quo," and more terrorist attacks were perpetrated, some by children inspired by Arabic social media to become a martyr by "redeeming al-Aqsa." Despite the rumors, nothing changed in the status quo at al-Aqsa.
In 2021, operation Guardians of the Wall was instigated, once again, by terrorist organization Hamas claiming it was the "defender" of al-Aqsa in a political play to undermine its rivals in the Palestinian Authority. Hamas spread rumors on social media that the Israelis once again were "oppressing" Muslims and changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, despite the fact that tens of thousands of Muslims prayed at al-Aqsa every day of Ramadan. The result: another war, in which Palestinians in Gaza experienced higher casualties than the Israelis. Still, nothing changed in the status quo at al-Aqsa.
THIS YEAR, Palestinian leaders and terrorist organization Hamas are once again using Ramadan to spread rumors that Israelis are "desecrating" al-Aqsa, which has led to massive riots and violence at al-Aqsa Compound throughout the month. They claim Jews are "storming" the Temple Mount, yet video footage shared by Palestinians showed Palestinians using the mosque to prepare for violent confrontation before any non-Muslims entered the premises. During Passover, Israel explicitly banned any Jews from visiting the holy site, so as to avoid an increase in tensions. Despite that, the campaign of incitement surrounding al-Aqsa being "in danger" continued.
Camping out in the mosque with their shoes on for days, Palestinian rioters used the holy site to throw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at Israeli police and non-Muslims, even damaging the mosque itself. This occurred even when police were outside the compound entirely.
The rioters prevented the vast majority of peaceful Muslim worshippers from being able to pray during Ramadan. Yet how was this reported on social media and in the international press? That the Israeli police were preventing Muslims from worshipping at al-Aqsa Mosque. This is the definition of disinformation, fake news, or just plain old lies – not to mention outrageously lazy and irresponsible journalism on the part of the press. Last Friday, a quarter of a million Muslims prayed at al-Aqsa Mosque; this did not make the headlines. Yet again, the status quo has not changed at the al-Aqsa Compound.
It should go without saying that no one has a right to violently assault someone visiting a holy site. Muslims do not have a religious monopoly on al-Aqsa, nor should they. This is a site that is holy to more than one faith, and freedom of religion should be respected. Ironically, it is extremist Muslims attacking others for visiting, then claiming those visitors are threatening the sanctity of the mosque itself, which these extremists are desecrating by wearing shoes and engaging in violence on-site.
The hypocrisy is blatant and shameful, and prevents Muslims and non-Muslims alike from practicing their religion.
The media need to step up and do their job. The truth must be told; otherwise, the violence will continue. Palestinian extremists must not be allowed to dictate the narrative at al-Aqsa as they have for nearly 100 years. Enough.
The writer is a leading activist against antisemitism and is the CEO of Social Lite Creative.
Unique Sites of Israel" Biblical Maale (Ascent of) Adumim
"And the border went up toward Debir from the Valley of Achor, and so northward, facing Gilgal, that is before the ascent to Adumim, which is on the south side of the valley, and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at En-rogel (Joshua 15:7)"
Today, we are visiting a site which sat on arguably the most important road from Biblical times (and even today). Anyone driving through this extreme desert road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the Dead Sea or Masada has passed by here, although likely never stopped at this site. This area has incredibly breathtaking views, and includes a rich history and unique archeology. Additionally, Israel's newest top nightlife and shopping attraction recently opened up here (for more on that, click here). Today this Jewish city, located in Judah and Samaria (West Bank) is of utmost importance to Israel's national security and hold on Jerusalem, which is why every Prime Minister (right and left) beginning with Yitzhak Rabin made developing this area a priority. With that in mind, let us explore this timeless treasure!
In Biblical times, Maale Adumim sat on the border between Benjamin and Judah (see Joshua 15:7 and 18:17).
When the Bible referred to "Maale Adumim (translated as the Ascent of the Red)" it wasn't exclusively referring to a particular town, but rather the stretch of road beginning in Jericho (400 meters below sea level) and steeply rising to Jerusalem (800 meters above sea level). The limestone rocks on this ascent are red, tinted by Iron Oxide, hence the name "Red Ascent".
During the days of the First and Second Temple, Jews had an obligation to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem 3 times a year: Passover, Sukkot, and Shavuot (in the future, when the Third Temple is rebuilt the obligation will be reinstated). Jews coming from the Galilee, Jordan Valley, modern day Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria would ascend to Jerusalem on this road, and there were many inns along the way. Today's Inn of the Good Samaritan Museum (one of the largest collections of Synagogue and Church mosaics in the world) is housed in an Ottoman Turkish Inn built upon a Byzantine Inn. It is believed that during Second Temple times, this was also the location of an Inn due to a Herodian era fortress found nearby which protected it.
In Byzantine times, a large monastery existed here (uncovered during construction of a new neighborhood of Maale Adumim in the 1980s) called Martyrius. The Monastery complex was huge, with mosaic floors and having 6 large cisterns, a dining room, a hostel for travelers and horse stables. It was damaged by the invading Persians in 614 CE and completely abandoned after the Arab conquest (circa 638 CE).
During the Muslim era, the area went through a long period of decline. In the 20th Century, the British paved the Jericho-Jerusalem Road naming it highway one, however they redirected the road from Jericho to nearby Lido (where the Dead Sea industry, hotel and nightclub was located) and so it remains today.
When Jordan occupied the land from 1948-1967, little development took place here. In 1967, Jerusalem and Judah and Samaria were liberated by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). At first the Israeli government (led by the leftwing Labor party) wouldn't permit Jews to return or build homes here, because they were under the illusion that if Israel were to "return" the newly liberated land to the Arabs, they would be clamoring for peace (in August 1967, the Arab nations famously gathered in Sudan and disavowed any future peace deal regardless of land). Israel only allowed small settlements to be built in areas which were militarily necessary for strategic reasons (mainly in the Jordan Valley and Gush Etzion). After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Gush Emunim (a religious-Zionist organization whose goal was to settle all the newly liberated lands in order fulfill the Torah command of settling their ancestral homeland, while restoring Jewish presence in the area) was founded. They began to settle this area in the mid-1970s. In 1977 Menachem Began (a champion of the settlement movement) was elected Prime Minister, and he made it easier for communities to be built throughout Judah and Samaria, resulting in Maale Adumim being granting local council status. In 1991, Maale Adumim became the first Jewish settlement to be officially declared a city (since then Betar Illit, Ariel and Modiin Illit have also received that recognition). Currently, many new neighborhoods are being built here and a flourishing community, including many native English speakers, call this place home. Twice, the city has won the Israel Ministry of Education prize for excellence and three times has won the "Most Beautiful City in Israel Award" by the Council for a Beautiful Israel. The area now sprouts several flourishing settlements, including Mitsphe Yericho, Vered Yericho, Anatot, Kfar Adumim, and several others. Together this bloc of settlements is known as the "Adumim Bloc" and retaining control of this area just west of Jerusalem is considered a rare consensus issue in Israel.
One of the crowning achievements of the city was the establishment of one of the first industrial zones in the settlements, which quickly became one of the premier industrial zones serving the Jerusalem area. Today, more than 300 companies have factories here and are a major employer for both Jews and thousands of Palestinians. For residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) these jobs are highly sought after, because even those making Israeli minimum wage earn on average three times more than they would working for employers in the PA. They also get benefits underheard of in the Arab cities of Judah and Samaria such as mandatory paid sick days, legal holidays based on the Muslim calendar, paid transportation, Israeli healthcare, pension, and vacation time.
In mid-2021, a revolutionary game changer to the area occurred when Israel's most luxurious mall, D-City, opened here (at a cost of $230 Million). It is a breath-taking architectural phenomenon, built by celebrity architect Gadi Halperin, to resemble the deluxe Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. Indeed, one who visits here can be forgiven for temporarily forgetting they are NOT in Italy but rather in an extreme desert! The mall has over 200 brand name stores (including several furniture stores) water fountains, nightly concerts, restaurants with a venetian ambiance and an amusement park with 40 rides. It will soon also have a hotel and convention center. This mall is projected to become the main shopping center for over 1.5 million Israelis (including Jerusalemites) for their home furnishing needs, a major rest way between the center of the country and Eilat and a major nightlife hotspot and a tourist attraction in itself. This is likely to create economic opportunities for the surrounding desert communities, who will open businesses catering to this increased traffic, thus accelerating the area's growth (for more on this wonderful hotspot, click here).
Today there is so much to do for tourists in the area, including some of the best ATV/Jeeping in the country and hiking trails (including waterholes). On your next trip to Israel, in addition to visiting the Dead Sea and Masada, definitely take the opportunity to stop here and explore this stunning area!
(All images used are free or licensed by the author for commercial usage)
When It Comes to Heart Health, Science Says Your Blood Type Matters
People with type O blood might be less susceptible to heart disease and blood clots than those with type A or B.
Do you know your blood type?
You wouldn't know it by looking on the surface, but coursing through your veins every second of every day are tiny variations that categorize your blood into one of these groups: A+, A-, B+, B-, O-, O+, AB+ and AB-. Unless you've donated blood, were given a transfusion or found out during pregnancy, maybe you've never thought twice about it.
Ongoing research into blood type suggests it may matter more than we give it credit for -- at least when assessing risk for certain health conditions, especially heart disease. These invisible differences in the blood may give some people an edge at staving off cardiovascular problems and may leave others more susceptible.
What does blood type mean, and how are they different?
The letters A, B and O represent various forms of the ABO gene, which program our blood cells differently to form the different blood groups. If you have type AB blood, for example, your body is programmed to produce A and B antigens on red blood cells. A person with type O blood doesn't produce any antigens.
Blood is said to be "positive" or "negative" based on whether there are proteins on the red blood cells. If your blood has proteins, you're Rh positive.
People with type O- blood are considered "universal donors" because their blood doesn't have any antigens or proteins, meaning anybody's body will be able to accept it in an emergency.
But why are there different blood types? Researchers don't fully know, but factors such as where someone's ancestors are from and past infections which spurred protective mutations in the blood may have contributed to the diversity, according to Dr. Douglas Guggenheim, a hematologist with Penn Medicine. People with type O blood may get sicker with cholera, for example, while people with type A or B blood may be more likely to experience blood clotting issues. While our blood can't keep up with the different biological or viral threats going around in real time, it may reflect what's happened in the past.
"In short, it's almost like the body has evolved around its environment in order to protect it as best as possible," Guggenheim says.
The blood types most at-risk for heart disease
People with type A, type B or type AB blood are more likely than people with type O to have a heart attack or experience heart failure, according to the American Heart Association.
While the increased risk is small (types A or B had a combined 8% higher risk of heart attack and 10% increased risk of heart failure, according to one large study) the difference in blood clotting rates is much higher, per the AHA. People in the same study with type A and B blood were 51% more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis and 47% more likely to develop a pulmonary embolism, which are severe blood clotting disorders which can also increase the risk of heart failure.
A reason for this increased risk, according to Guggenheim, might have to do with inflammation that happens in the bodies of people with type A, type B or type AB blood. The proteins present in type A and type B blood may cause more "blockage" or "thickening" in the veins and arteries, leading to an increased risk of clotting and heart disease.
Guggenheim also thinks this may describe the anecdotal (but currently inconclusive) decrease in risk of severe COVID-19 disease in people with type O blood, which has inspired research. Severe COVID-19 disease often causes heart problems, blood clotting and other cardiovascular issues.
Other consequences of blood type
People with type O blood enjoy a slightly lower risk of heart disease and blood clotting, but they may be more susceptible to hemorrhaging or bleeding disorders. This may be especially true after childbirth, according to a study on postpartum blood loss, which found an increased risk in women with type O blood.
People with type O blood may also fare worse after a traumatic injury due to increased blood loss, according to a study published in Critical Care.
Other research has found people with type AB blood might be at an increased risk for cognitive impairment when compared to people with type O. Cognitive impairment includes things like trouble remembering, focusing or making decisions.
Should I change my lifestyle based on my blood type?
While research available now shows that blood type can tip the scale in terms of someone's risk of developing heart disease, big factors such as diet, exercise or even the level of pollution you're exposed to in your community are the major players in determining heart health.
Guggenheim says that for patients trying to keep their heart healthy, there's no special recommendation that he'd make other than a good heart healthy diet that lowers inflammation, regardless of someone's blood type.
But, he notes, future research could offer more definitive ways doctors treat patients based on their blood type. All factors considered equally, a patient with healthy cholesterol levels and type A blood may benefit from taking aspirin each day whereas it might not be necessary for a person in the same boat with type O blood.
"A well-balanced, heart-healthy diet in general is going to be what any physician is going to recommend, and I would say that ABO doesn't change that," Guggenheim says.
"I don't think there's a protective benefit from just having type O blood that contributes to being scot free," he adds.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.