Israel’s US ambassador ‘regrets’ timing of remarks criticizing Israel
The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, says he regrets the timing of his criticisms of Israel’s policies in the West Bank — the day Dafna Meir, a murdered West Bank mother of six, was buried.
“I understand the timing was not ideal,” Shapiro told Army Radio on Monday morning, a week after the remarks that raised the ire of the Israeli government and its supporters. “I began with condemnations of the terror attacks in Otniel and Tekoa [the stabbing death of Meir and the stabbing of a pregnant Israeli]. There were only one or two controversial sentences, and if it hurt the Meir family or those mourning her, of course I regret that.”
In a Jan. 18 speech at a Tel Aviv conference on security, Shapiro said that “at times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank — one for Jews and one for Palestinians.” He also said: “Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked.”
His comments came the same day as the funeral for Meir, who was killed by a teenage Palestinian assailant in her Otniel home the day before. Hundreds attended the funeral, including several government ministers.
Shapiro also told Army Radio that the current lack of communication between Israel and the Palestinians is bringing the region closer to a binational state.
He told both Army Radio and Israel Radio, also in an interview on Monday morning, that with each settlement expansion or Palestinian attack on an Israeli civilian, the prospect of a two-state solution is becoming more distant.
The Prime Minister’s Office of Israel issued a statement following Shapiro’s Jan. 18 remarks condemning them as “unacceptable and incorrect.”
“Israel enforces the law for Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement said. “The Palestinian Authority is the one responsible for the diplomatic freeze, and continues to incite and refuse talks.”
Mort Zuckerman launches $100M program to foster US-Israel scientific collaboration
Media tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman is launching a $100 million program promoting scientific collaboration between the United States and Israel.
The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, announced Monday at a New York event that featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo and with several Nobel laureates on hand, promises to provide over $100 million in scholarships and related educational activities for participating scholars and universities.
The program, which will launch in the 2016-17 academic year, aims to foster collaboration between the “highest-achieving” American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students and “leading researchers” at Hebrew University, the Technion, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, according to a news release issued Monday.
Zuckerman, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The American Jewish philanthropist’s foundation has supported an array of Jewish, medical and scientific institutions.
“At a time when collaboration is essential to advanced scientific research, this program gives the next generations of leading American and Israeli academics the ability to work together on cutting edge research in ways that stand to benefit their fields for years to come,” Zuckerman said in a statement. “The result will help transform not just the work of the scholars involved, but the way the United States and Israel approach collaboration and cooperation across the sciences.”
Cuomo said in a statement: “New York and Israel share a deep and unparalleled connection — and the Zuckerman Scholars Program is a prime example of how we can keep that relationship strong today and in the future. By helping some of America’s best and brightest students work and learn alongside leading researchers in Israel, this program gives us a new model for cooperation and partnership that will ultimately better society as a whole.”
Zuckerman’s foundation has committed to invest in the program over the next 20 years and plans to ensure the program continues “in perpetuity.”
Ben & Jerry’s founder creates Bernie Sanders ice cream flavor
A co-founder of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company has created a new flavor inspired by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Ben Cohen, who founded the Vermont-based company with Jerry Greenfield in 1978, introduced “Bernie’s Yearning” Monday on his Facebook page.
“Nothing is so unstoppable as a flavor whose time has finally come,” Cohen wrote.
The flavor in honor of the Vermont senator consists of a pint of mint ice cream topped by a chocolate disk that Cohen explains in a description on the container “represents the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1% since the end of the recession.”
The disk is meant to be broken up with a spoon and mixed into the rest of the ice cream, the description continues.
Ben & Jerry’s will not produce the flavor. Cohen explained that he made 40 pints of it in his own kitchen and donated 25 to the Sanders campaign to be disseminated through a public contest.
Cohen and Greenfield, who have been Sanders constituents in Vermont for over 30 years, have been steadfast supporters of the senator throughout his campaign. They introduced him last year at his presidential campaign launch in Burlington.