Friday, August 30, 2013

Israeli start-up helps shoppers identify items using image recognition

PounceShoppers can use image recognition technology to identify items in print and find the objects immediately online for sale • Israeli developer of app predicts image recognition technology will make shopping more seamless over the next 10 years.
 A new app lets shoppers flipping through retail flyers purchase items that catch their eye using image recognition technology.

The iOS app Pounce allows shoppers to scan images they spot in print media with their device's camera, then purchase the item online directly from the retailer running the advertisement.

"We are able to match an image with an actual product available online," said Avital Yachin, chief executive of BuyCode, the Tel Aviv-based company that developed the app, one of a growing number of apps using image recognition to bridge the physical and online worlds of e-commerce.

"Our vision is to allow purchasing of any product in any print ad," he said, adding that the company plans to expand to catalogs, magazines and billboards.

The Pounce app recognizes products that its retailing partners, which include Staples, Target, Toys "R" Us and Ace Hardware, sell online.

After scanning an image, the app displays the item's price and shipping cost, then allows shoppers to make the purchase directly from the retailer.

Other companies such as eBay and Amazon have apps that use image recognition to identify objects such as books, cars and even clothing to help shoppers find similar items in their online marketplaces.

Continue reading.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Israeli Company ‘Neuronix’ Offers Hope For Alzheimer’s Disease With Unique Treatment

By Adam Van Heerden, NoCamels

Alzheimer’s Disease currently affects between 30-35 million people around the world and according to the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, this number will double by 2030.

AlzheimersIsraeli company Neuronix has developed what may be the most advanced non-invasive treatment for the disease, which is so far incurable.

According to Neuronix, its treatment, which involves magnetic stimulation to the brain, can restore a patient’s cognitive ability to a state comparable to that of two years before the treatment began.

“The greatest concern in the medical community”
According to Eyal Baror, CEO of Neuronix, “Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the greatest concerns in the medical community today. AD is the only disease this widespread for which there is no cure, vaccine, or any other way to stop it.”

According to the Facts and Figures Report, Alzheimer’s is the sixth cause of death globally and the only one in the top 10 that has not diminished, but rather increased by 66 percent between 2000 and 2008.

A real “game changer”

Baror is clear about the fact that neuroAD is not a cure. Nevertheless, he is confident that neuroAD is bringing about “a real change in the battle against AD.”

 Continue reading.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Italy, a Vintage Redolent of Horrors

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO for the New York Times

Nazi WineCOLLOREDO DI PRATO, Italy — Vini Lunardelli is no stranger to controversy. Every year, it seems, usually during the summer, a tourist will happen upon its wines with their outrageous labels and make a fuss that is then picked up by the local — and sometimes national and international — media.

This year, the fuss picked up some extra heft when it was raised by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Infuriated by wine labels that portray Hitler and sundry members of the Nazi hierarchy, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group called on distributors this month to stop handling Lunardelli wines.

Though Lunardelli has been selling Nazi-themed wines for 20 years, the once-idiosyncratic marketing device is even more intolerable these days, center officials said, with the rising incidence of anti-Semitism in Europe.

“What is the condition of Jewish life in Europe: is it getting better or worse? It’s getting much worse,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Wiesenthal center, citing recent disturbing episodes in France, Greece, Hungary, Eastern Europe and Spain, where earlier this week a banner appeared at a bullfight with the slogan: “Adolf Hitler was right.”

Continue reading.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The war against intermarriage has been lost. Now what?

By Uriel Heilman for JTA
IntermarriageNEW YORK (JTA) — When the nation’s largest Jewish federation convened its first-ever conference recently on engaging interfaith families, perhaps the most notable thing about it was the utter lack of controversy that greeted the event.

There was a time when the stereotypical Jewish approach to intermarriage was to shun the offender and sit shiva.

A generation ago, the publication of the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey showing intermarriage at the alarmingly high rate of 52 percent turned into a rallying cry. No matter that subsequent scholarship revised the figure down to 43 percent, interfaith marriage was seen as the core of the problem of Jewish assimilation in America. Jewish institutions poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building with an eye toward stemming intermarriage.

Fast forward two decades and the question is no longer how to fight intermarriage, but how Jewish institutions can be as welcoming as possible to intermarried Jews and the gentiles who love them.

“Clearly, Jewish communal attitudes have changed,” said David Mallach, managing director of the Commission on the Jewish People at UJA-Federation of New York, which hosted the one-day interfaith conference in June.

“One of the results of the whole process begun with the 1990 study was that in a free America we’re all Jews by choice. That’s been a profound insight that has permeated a lot of the work of the Jewish community in the last 20-plus years,” Mallach said. “It shifted the discussion from the classic stereotypical sitting shiva and never talking to a person again to saying that if we’re all Jews by choice, let’s also sit with this segment of the community and offer them that choice.”

Continue reading.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Israeli intelligence backs reports of latest chemical weapons attack in Syria

Intelligence minister criticizes international community over inaction; France says retaliation necessary if reports are true, Turkey says Syria has crossed all 'red lines.'


Israeli intelligence believes that Wednesday's reports of a chemical attack in Damascus are credible, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday.

Yuval Steinitz, the minister for intelligence and strategic affairs, told Israel Radio that it is Israel's intelligence assessment that President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians on Wednesday.

This was not the first time chemical warfare was used by Assad in the Syrian civil war, he said, joining Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon who said on Wednesday that the Syrian regime has already used chemical weapons multiple times.

On Wednesday, activists claimed that hundreds were killed in a gas attack in a Damascus suburb. Syria's military command denied the claims.

Steinitz said condemnations made by the international community were mere lip service, since no significant steps were taken to stop Assad. When asked of the United Nations mission to Syria, the minister said that the investigations were not serious.

"The UN is not investigating yesterday's (Wednesday) incident, but events from six months and a year ago… Probing the use of chemical weapons without investigating who used it is ridicules," he said.

A team of UN inspectors had arrived in Damascus on Sunday to investigate claims of chemical weapons use.

Continue reading.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Terrorists ‘aim to hit Israeli, Jewish targets worldwide’ in coming weeks

By Gavriel Fiske for

Israelis ordered out of Sinai, told to avoid Jordan

Counter-Terror Bureau issues strident warning, citing ‘concrete, very high’ threats in numerous countries

Terror Threat
Suspected Hezbollah weapons cache uncovered May 2013 in Kano, Nigeria

Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned in strikingly strident tones on Monday, listing dozens of countries where it said it had “concrete” indications of a terrorist threat.

It cited concerns about terrorist acts timed to coincide with the forthcoming Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur and Succot festivals, and also said that the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US was likely to be “a favored period” for al-Qaeda and other global jihadist groups to attempt to carry out acts of terrorism.

Iran and Hezbollah, it warned, were continuing their “global terror campaign” against Israeli and Jewish targets. It noted that Iran remained bent on avenging alleged Israeli responsibility for the killing of Hezbollah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh in a Damascus car-bombing in 2008, and the deaths of three Iranian nuclear scientists.

It said its information indicated that Israeli businessmen and ex-government officials were prime potential targets for assassination and/or kidnapping.

 Continue reading.

Monday, August 19, 2013

In the Golan, Israel Deploys Drones and Steel Fences Against Threats From Syria

At a cost of $75 million, new fortifications stand as physical reminders that peace in the north is further away than ever

By Yochi Dreazen for Tablet

Golan FenceIsrael’s newest wall snakes along its northern border, long the country’s quietest, climbing over the mountains separating the Golan Heights from Syria and across the grassy hills and plateaus separating it from Lebanon. The barrier, already 60 kilometers long, is made of thick steel pillars and coils of razor-sharp barbed wire, bolstered by some of the most sophisticated cameras, motion detectors, and infrared surveillance equipment in the Israeli arsenal.

The skies over the fence are patrolled by a fleet of unarmed, Israeli-built Sky Rider drones that beam real-time video imagery down to troops on the ground. An Israeli military official boasted that the drones and surveillance equipment allow Israeli forces to “see everything from a shepherd to a runaway sheep.” Every day, the Israeli side of the wall is patrolled by hundreds of active-duty troops who have rushed north in recent months to relieve the reservists who have long been assigned the dull task of securing a border where nothing of note typically happens.

Responsibility for maintaining quiet in northern Israel rests in the hands of men like Lt. Col. Yogev Bar Sheshet, the commander of the infantry battalion with responsibility for a swath of the Lebanese border not yet secured by the new fence. One afternoon last week, Bar Sheshet climbed a ladder onto a concrete escarpment next to a machine-gun nest ringed by sandbags and covered with camouflage netting. The border was less than 10 meters away. To the left were tan buildings housing some of the United Nations peacekeepers stationed along the border; to the right, off in the distance, was a Lebanese army guard tower. A chain link fence topped with a thin strand of barbed wire marked the limit of Israeli control.

Continue reading.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sam's Crazy Bar Mitzvah Draws Rabbi Rebuke

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen for the Jewish Daily Forwards

Who in America with a Facebook account hasn’t seen this D-cup of craziness? It’s Sam Horowitz’s big fat bar mitzvah dance number, replete with dancing girls clad in golden sequined mini-dresses shaking everything their mamas gave them to the Christina Aguilera song “Show Me How You Burlesque.”
In front of 15-foot-high letters spelling out Sam’s name in bright lights, the young Barry Manilow-in-the-making descends to the stage, hidden within a white cylinder of sparkly curtains. It lifts to reveal the boy, clad all in white, who makes his entrance surrounded by the gyrating dancers and shows off his own, fairly impressive moves.
The video — taken at his Dallas bar mitzvah last November — even earned young master Horowitz his own segment on Good Morning America on Wednesday and then a live demo of his dance skills (including the dancing girls and an interview with his proud mama) on the same program on Thursday.

But a bar or bat mitzvah celebration of this obvious expense and over-the-topness certainly proves the adage that money doesn’t buy taste. And it certainly doesn’t demonstrate good sense.

Continue reading.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Israelis, Egyptians Cooperate on Terror

Israeli Drone Strike Inside Sinai Shows a Growing, Sensitive Relationship

By Adam Entous and Charles Levinson for the Wall Street Journal 

WSJIsrael and Egypt are quietly cooperating to quell Islamist militants along their border, Western officials say, a sensitive relationship illuminated by a deadly Israeli drone strike late last week inside Egyptian territory.

Israel's intervention in the Sinai Peninsula—which Egyptian officials denied, and which Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied—would be the clearest manifestation of the high-level interaction between Israeli and Egyptian military and intelligence chiefs, according to the Western officials. Such cooperation between the U.S. allies has increased since last month's ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, these officials say.

Four Islamists from a little-known group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem were killed in the strike Friday, according to the group, which said the members had been preparing to fire rockets into southern Israel. The strike was conducted by Israel, according to Western officials.

The understanding on both sides is that Israel will take direct action only as a last resort if the Egyptians aren't in a position to stop an imminent threat from the Sinai, Western officials said. Such an Israeli intervention would be "very rare" because of Egyptian sensitivities, according to a senior Western official.

The arrangement shows the extent to which the Israeli and Egyptian militaries have closed ranks against militants massing on the peninsula. Heading west, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades could target ships carrying oil through Egypt's Suez Canal. In the other direction lies Eilat airport in southern Israel.

Continue reading


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Israeli Tennis Team Gets Fined for Yom Kippur

13,000 reasons why it doesn’t feel like 2013 yet

Monday, August 12, 2013

New CAMERA Ad Campaign Challenges NY Times to Halt Anti-Israel Bias

Our campaign to raise public awareness of New York Times anti-Israel bias marches on.

CAMERA's advertisement appears today on page six of The Wall Street Journal and in AM New York, on page eleven. It ran in the Metro newspaper.

Please don't forget to make calls, write letters and spread the word!


This biased coverage is part of a pattern. CAMERA's six-month study of New York Times coverage found the newspaper consistently downplaying Israeli views and amplifying, or even promoting, Palestinian perspectives. Month after month, the newspaper obscured Palestinian attacks and Israeli deaths, diverting readers' attention instead to Palestinian casualties and acts of non-lethal vandalism by Israelis.  To learn about CAMERA's six-month study of New York Times coverage, please click here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Is Hamas Considering A Move to Beirut?

HamasA little less than two years ago, Hamas had carte blanche to travel between the capital cities of the region, where it was welcomed and bathed in amity; beginning with Tehran, through Damascus, and all the way to Cairo, not to mention the two capitals with which it has the closest ties: Doha and Ankara. But the situation has changed in an alarming fashion, after the movement adopted stances that did not sit well with its Iranian ally.

Then came the events that followed the coup in Egypt; which, as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ouster from power there, caused Hamas immeasurable damage engendered by the loss of this ideologically and geographically close supporter. This led Hamas to search for new alternatives that would help it overcome its current crisis.

As a result, Beirut became the location that witnessed, away from the spotlight, the most intense Hamas related political activity. The choice fell on this city not because it is the capital of Lebanon, but because it is considered to be the stronghold that best attracts all the factions and leaderships that are part of the Iranian alliance. For this reason, successive Hamas delegations came to Lebanon in order to rectify the movement’s political relations with the Iranian axis.

Marathon meetings

The information available to Al-Monitor confirmed that several high-ranking Hamas delegations visited Beirut in mid-June 2013. These delegations included a number of the movement’s political leaders, headed by the political bureau’s deputy chairman, Moussa Abu Marzouk, who met with prominent members of Hezbollah’s leadership, headed by Hassan Hoballah, a member of Hezbollah’s political bureau.

Continue reading.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lost in translation: The Israel-America disconnect

This post is from by Tami Lehman-Wilzig who blogs for Jewish Treats and does the Zvuvi children's blog about fun Jewish facts and is printed from the

FlagsBack when I was growing up, the modern State of Israel was the center of the Jewish universe. It was at the core of being Jewish, tucked inside the greater American-Jewish identity. There were no contradictions. Jews were solid U.S. citizens, equally proud of their American heritage. But the brutal sting of the Holocaust which had hit home more often than not, made the establishment and continuity of the Jewish state a prerequisite of daily life.

Having just spent a semester sabbatical in the United States, I unfortunately have witnessed a different state of American Jewry. Jews have never been so successful; the urge to integrate has seamlessly transitioned into assimilation. The result? Today Israel is a blip on the Jewish-American radar screen, and for many there's a definite disconnect. When I brought this up to one rabbi his response was more troubling than I expected. “The disconnect you sense,” he explained, “is a byproduct of the general disconnect to Judaism.”

A cleric of a flourishing congregation, he confessed that he felt more like an entertainment director than a rabbi. “I have to constantly think up new gimmicks to draw the crowd in,” he elaborated, while admitting that without the constant beat of Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations bringing in hundreds at a time, weekly attendance would be down to a drizzle.

Certainly, similar worries existed when my generation was growing up. Still, back then American Jews understood that with or without Israel, they were part of a nation within a nation. Unfortunately, this fact seems to have been lost in translation over the past few decades. Not with the minority who send their children to Jewish Day Schools, but with the majority shepherding their children to synagogue religious schools, if at all. It's not their fault alone. This latter educational framework either fell asleep at the wheel, or did not have the resources to ignite a sense of pride.

Continue reading.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stoudemire Applying for Israeli Citizenship

The New York Knick is undergoing the citizenship process, his agent reports

By Stephanie Butnick for Tablet Magazine

AmareAmar’e Stoudemire must have had a hell of a time at the Maccabiah Games this past month in Jerusalem, where he coached the Canadian basketball team (and Instagramed like a kid on Birthright). Just days after the Jewish Olympics ended, the New York Knicks’ power forward—who’s newly a part-owner of Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem—is in the process of obtaining Israeli citizenship, Daily Intel reports:

Stoudemire was even invited to play for the Israeli national team by President Shimon Peres. It’s something Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, sees as a real possibility. In fact, Walters says that Stoudemire is in the process of becoming an official Israeli. “He’s getting citizenship,” the agent told Daily Intelligencer at the premiere of We’re the Millers last night. “He applied, and he’s there now.”

Stoudemire has long displayed an affinity for Judaism and Israel (see: his Twitter feed), citing Hebrew roots on his mother’s side of the family. “His mother says there’s some Jewish blood on her side, but Amar’e is just a total student of history and had been planning a trip to Israel for awhile,” Walters explained in 2010, at the time of Stoudemire’s first, much-publicized trip to the Holy Land. “Is it possible [that he's Jewish]? Maybe. We’re going to do some research.”

Since then, he’s been documenting his study of Hebrew texts and peppering his tweets with ‘Shabbat Shaloms‘ and ‘Boker tovs.’ And now that he’s best friends with Israeli president Shimon Peres, I have a feeling his application may go to the front of the line.

All of which is to say, Stat is officially a better Jew than you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ancient Tunnel Discovered Beneath Jerusalem

Incredible Find.  Watch the video.

Archaeologists unearth sewer system and street under the Western Wall area.  Should be open to the public sometime within a year.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Jews on 1st? Baseball and the Quest for Identity

Jews on First
By J.J. Goldberg for the Jewish Daily Forward


This year’s Major League Baseball All Stars game had two arguably Jewish players on the roster (out of 78 players total): second-baseman Jason Kipnis of Cleveland (American League) and first-baseman Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona (National League). Both have Jewish fathers and Christian mothers (same as the two arguably Jewish players on last year’s All Star roster, Ian Kinsler and Ryan Braun).

Two out of 78 comes to 2.5%, slightly above the Jewish percentage in the overall population. So what, you ask? We’ll get to that.

As luck would have it, those two happened to be the guys who made the game’s final plays for their respective leagues. Goldschmidt got the last hit for the losing National League, a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the next play, Kipnis wrapped up a 3-0 win for the American League by catching a pop-up from Pedro Alvarez of Pittsburgh.

Does it matter, if their mothers aren’t Jewish and they don’t practice Judaism? I’d say it does. Braun (“the Hebrew Hammer”), Kinsler and Kipnis all consider themselves proud Jews (don’t know enough about Goldschmidt). They willingly put themselves forward as role models for Jewish kids looking for heroes and, all too frequently, struggling with issues of masculinity and Jewish identity. We should count ourselves blessed to live in a time when people are yearning to get counted in, not out.

So here’s my question: what’s with all the Jewish first basemen?

Think about it. The Mets now have two rotating with each other, Isaac Benjamin Davis and Josh Satin. Kevin Youkilis, who now plays across town with the Yankees, was a star first baseman with Boston for years (last year and this he was playing third and occasionally first before he went on the disabled list). Throw in Nate Freiman of the Oakland As and you have a real trend going. None of them matches up as all-around players to the great Hank Greenberg, of course—nor even to Shawn Green, who spent several seasons at first base for the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. Still, it raises the classic question: Jews on first?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guess Who's Valedictorian at Israel's Top Medical School?

 the Huffington Post

Guess who graduated first in this year's medical school class at the Technion, Israel's version of M.I.T.? The answer will surprise you. It's a 27-year-old stereotype-buster: a charming, feminist, smart, open-minded and observant Islamic woman named Mais Ali-Saleh who grew up in a small village outside of Nazareth, in Israel's Galilee.
Ali-Selah's academic excellence not only marks her own personal achievement but also proves that contrary to propaganda spouted by proponents of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement -- whose latest convert is Stephen Hawking -- an academic boycott of Israel is the wrong approach to solving the Israel-Arab conflict. Moreover, it ultimately hurts the very people it claims to help. Ali-Selah put it best when she said, "An academic boycott of Israel is a passive move, and it doesn't achieve any of its purported objectives."
After Ali-Selah's first class at the Technion, in Haifa, northern Israel, she was ready to call it quits. Ali-Selah had studied Hebrew from elementary school through high school but in the predominantly Arab area around Nazareth, she rarely used Hebrew and her vocabulary was limited. During Ali-Selah's first Chemistry lecture, she couldn't understand why her professor kept talking about malls. What did shopping malls have to do with Chemistry? She then realized the professor was speaking about moles, a standard scientific unit for measuring quantities of minute entities.
It did not take long for her to break through her limited language skills and rise to the top of her class. In fact, in 2011, she was one of eight students from around Israel who were presented with academic awards of excellence at the Knesset, Israel's Senate.
Ali-Selah claims that her academic drive is "part genes and part family background." After raising four children, Ali-Selah's mother, Fahima, went back to school to complete her college education and is now studying for a PhD in education. (Ali-Selah's father, Rohi, would have liked to continue his education but his father died when he was a high school senior and he was forced to go to work to support his younger siblings.) Ali-Selah said that the atmosphere in the village, Jaffa-Nazareth, is liberal and many of its residents encourage young women to further their education.