May 27, 2024
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May 27, 2024
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Starbucks in Talks to Buy Stake in Israel’s Sodastream

( American global coffee giant Starbucks is reportedly in talks with the Israel- SodaStream beverage-carbonation company to buy a 10-percent stake in the company, Globes reported. Sources indicate that both sides are close to announcing the deal, which would value SodaStream at $1.1 billion, 30 percent above its current market price of $850 million. SodaStream is looking for a partnership similar to the one between coffee machine maker Green Mountain Coffee and Coca-Cola, where the two companies are collaborating on their own home carbonated beverage machines. “Collaboration with Starbucks would give SodaStream a distribution platform and marketing incentives, such as sales campaigns and special flavors for Starbucks customers,” the Globes report said.

Israel Worried Indyk Will Walk—Israelis are worried that Martin Indyk will soon tender his resignation. According to reliable sources in Jerusalem, in light of the stalemate, people believe Indyk will not extend his leave and will walk away from the negotiations. However, a final decision has yet to be made. A senior member of Israel’s shrinking peace camp in discussing the latest crisis, referred to Kerry’s statement, made in a “closed talk,” that said unless a two-state solution was achieved, “a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.” In referring to Netanyahu, the source quoted a well-known Jewish saying about how some conduct leads people to eat rotten fish and get driven out of town—meaning their behavior leaves them empty-handed and humiliated. The source notes Kerry said the right things, which are also being voiced publicly in Israel. Even Netanyahu has been using the idiomatic phrase of “danger to the Jewish majority.” So, why does the secretary need apologize and take it all back? Said the source, Kerry spoke up, drew lethal criticism from the Republicans, was forced to retract and by doing so undid the impact his statement should have left on all parties—yet at the end of this loop, he found himself battered, beleaguered and humiliated. And this, says the Israeli source, is simply because he dared spell out the truth.

Iran, Other Repressive Regimes, Sweep UN Human Rights Posts

The UN last week elected Iran and more than a dozen other repressive regimes to top committees charged with overseeing the work of human rights organizations. Iran was elected to the Commission on the Status of Women and the Committee on NGOs, which oversees all human rights groups that seek to work inside the UN. Other human rights abusers elected to the influential panel include Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, slave-holding Mauritania, Russia, and Sudan, whose leader, President Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the ICC for genocide.

Lutheran Nuns End Jerusalem Mission to Holocaust Survivors

According to the Times of Israel, Beit Avraham (House of Abraham), run by the sisters of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, is closing down. Since 1961 it has served as a guesthouse for Holocaust survivors. But with so few survivors still alive, the nuns have decided their work has come to an end.The sisters had originally come to Israel in 1957 to work as nurses in Israeli hospitals as a way of doing practical repentance for not only what the Nazis had perpetrated, but also for “the 2,000 years of Jews’ suffering because of Christianity,” as Sister Gratia puts it. “We as Christians had to do something in Israel. We couldn’t continue as though nothing happened.” Sister Gratia, 71, who arrived in 1975 from Austria and became an Israeli citizen two years ago, has no plans to leave Israel.

Israeli Tech Turns Jellyfish into Paper Towels

Israel 21C—Cine’al Ltd., an Israeli nanotechnology start-up, is developing technology to turn jellyfish into “super-absorbers,” suitable for use in diapers, tampons, medical sponges, even paper towels. “One-third of disposable waste in dumps consists of diapers,” said Ofer Du-Nour, president of Cine’al. Highly-absorbent products are made of synthetic materials. The challenge was to find a bio-degradable material that was at least as absorbent. TAU researchers found the solution in jellyfish. During spring and early summer, millions of jellyfish appear near Israeli beaches, making swimming next to impossible. Using nano-materials, jellyfish are converted into Hydromash, which absorbs high volumes of water and blood in seconds. The process also adds nano-particles which allow for the addition of anti-bacterial and tissue-healing attributes, flexibility, colors, scents, and more. The result is a product that absorbs several times its volume, bio-degrades in less than 30 days, and can compete with synthetics on price.

It’s Not Just Antisemitism in Ukraine

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Jews in Donetsk believe that there is something else going on behind the antisemitic incidents—especially the attempt to terrify the Jews by ordering them to register with the local government. It turns out they were not the only group so threatened. One Jewish woman told the Monitor’s correspondent, “My intuition is that this all is just some kind of provocation meant to discredit someone, either the Kiev government or the guys in masks holding the buildings here,” she says. Still, she adds, it hits a nerve. “After the letter, most people were scared. But we need to be careful and not overreact.

New European Funding for Legal Warfare Against Israel

The “Secretariat,” a joint NGO funding initiative of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, has announced a four-year budget of $17.6 million to support political and legal warfare against Israel. The Secretariat’s local managing partner is the Institute of Law at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. “The NGO grantees engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS campaigns, and exploit the false ‘apartheid’ analogy to demonize Israel,” noted Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor.

Drinking Water from Thin Air

According to CNN, the Israeli company Water-Gen has developed an Atmospheric Water-Generation Unit using a heat exchanger to chill air and condense water vapor to produce drinking water from thin air. “Air conditioning is extracting water from air. But the issue is to do it very efficiently, to produce as much water as you can per kilowatt of power consumed,” said co-CEO Arye Kohavi. The system produces 250-800 liters of potable water a day, depending on temperature and humidity conditions, and uses two cents’ worth of electricity to produce one liter of water. Developed primarily for the IDF, Water-Gen has already sold mobile and stationary units to militaries in seven countries. For India, Kohavi says Water-Gen’s units can produce a liter of water for 1.5 rupees, as opposed to 15 rupees for a liter of bottled water.

U.S.-Led Raid Kills Top A-Q Bomber—In the wake of last week’s meeting of top Al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, American forces acting together with Yemeni commandos raided a suspected Al-Qaeda hideout last week. A U.S. official told CNN no Americans took part in actual combat on the ground. This same official identified the American personnel involved as special operations members, who are among the most elite and clandestine in the U.S. military. …CIA drones are suspected to have targeted Al-Qaeda fighters, weapons locations and a training camp. The latter is near where about 100 suspected members of the terrorist group met recently, according to video that’s appeared on jihadist websites and produced worries that the group could be plotting new attacks. According to the CNN report, Al-Qaeda bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri was among the terrorists who were killed in the raid. Al-Asiri, is believed to have attacked the United States on at least three occasions, and once was  thought killed in a Predator strike in 2011. However he resurfaced some six months later. Definite conclusion about his death cannot be reached until DNA results are in.

Israeli Company Develops Belt that Protects Against Nuclear Radiation

Israel 21-C—The Israeli company StemRad has developed a belt designed to block harmful gamma radiation. “StemRad’s tested…technology protects hematopoietic stem cells from the toxic effects of gamma radiation, providing affected individuals with an increased chance of survival in the event of inadvertent exposure…from a nuclear catastrophe such as an explosion or reactor leak,” the company said. StemRad has received orders from Israel, Japan, and Russia.

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