2 Jewish philanthropists pledge $134 million toward restoring Notre Dame Contributions by Lily Safra and French billionaire owner of L’Oreal, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, account for 17% of overall donations to iconic cathedral By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ 18 April 2019, 5:26 pm 5 2,042 shares Debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 201 9, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP) Debris inside the Notre Da me Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesso n/Pool/AFP) JTA — Two Jewish women have pledged between them $122 million toward the restoration of Paris’ Notre Dam e Cathedral following Monday’s devastating fire. Lily Safra, a Brazilian Jewish philanthropist, said she would give $2 2 million to fund the restoration efforts of the iconic church, Brazilian news site Correio 24 Horas reported. And Fran çoise Bettencourt Meyers, the French billion

2 Jewish philanthropists pledge $134 million toward restoring Notre Dame

Contributions by Lily Safra and French billionaire owner of L’Oreal, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, account for 17% of overall donations to iconic cathedral

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ18 April 2019, 5:26 pm 5

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Debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)Debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)

JTA — Two Jewish women have pledged between them $122 million toward the restoration of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral following Monday’s devastating fire.

Lily Safra, a Brazilian Jewish philanthropist, said she would give $22 million to fund the restoration efforts of the iconic church, Brazilian news site Correio 24 Horas reported. And Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the French billionaire owner of L’Oreal, pledged another 100 million euro ($112 million), according to CBS news.

The two women’s donations account for about seventeen percent of the $700 million collected so far for the restoration.

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Françoise Bettencourt Meyers announced the donation on Twitter, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for philanthropists to help collect funds for the operation.

Her father, Andre Bettencourt, wrote numerous articles for two pro-Nazi publications during World War II, one of which was financed by the Nazi government in Germany. Bettencourt Meyers married Jean-Pierre Meyers, a French Jewish businessman descended from a family of rabbis, and converted to Judaism.

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, right,, daughter of L’Oreal cosmetics fortune heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and her husband Jean-Pierre Meyers, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of l’Oreal, left, arrive for a L’Oreal award ceremony in Paris, March 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Bettencourt Meyers has led and donated to interfaith initiatives connecting Christians and Jews.

Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee announced on Wednesday that it will donate funds to help repair Notre Dame.

“Whether Catholic or not, Notre Dame Cathedral is an integral part of our shared legacy and soul. It represents centuries of French and European faith, culture, history and imagination,” AJC CEO David Harris said in a statement.

“We share the pain of the French people and Catholics worldwide in watching this landmark house of worship burn,” He added. AJC maintains an office in Paris.

HOPE BENNY GANTZ LIKES THIS : 5 MINUTES AGO: BTW BIBI IS THE PRIME MINISTER : IDF releases footage of strike tha t killed alleged Hamas moneyman The Israeli military releases drone footage of its strike that killed Hamed Hamdan al-Kh odari, who it says was a terrorist operative who funneled money to terror groups in the Gaza Strip from Iran. In the vid eo, al-Khodari’s car can be seen driving down a street in Gaza City before it is hit by a missile from above and erupt s into a cloud of smoke and flame.

<iframe src=”//content.jwplatform.com/players/VioUyDbU-U4CTA3JQ.html” width=”480″ height=”270″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”auto”></iframe>


IDF releases footage of strike that killed alleged Hamas moneyman

The Israeli military releases drone footage of its strike that killed Hamed Hamdan al-Khodari, who it says was a terrorist operative who funneled money to terror groups in the Gaza Strip from Iran.

In the video, al-Khodari’s car can be seen driving down a street in Gaza City before it is hit by a missile from above and erupts into a cloud of smoke and flame.

WE ARE CLOSE TO GENERATING A SYNTHETIC EMBRYO’ Hebrew University researchers create embryo stem cells from skin cells Discovery may pave the way to creating entire human embryos out of human skin cells, without sperm or eggs, says h ead of study By SHOSHANNA SOLOMON 2 May 2019, 2:11 pm 3 6,499 shares Illustrative image of an embryo (Zffoto; iStock by Getty Images) Illustrative image of an embryo (Zffoto; iStock by Getty Images) Researchers at the Hebrew University of J erusalem say they have found a way to transform skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stag e embryos. The discovery could pave the way to creating entire human embryos out of human skin cells, without the need f or sperm or eggs, the researchers say. And it could also have “vast implications” for modeling embryonic defects and shedding light on placental dysfunctions, as well as solving certain infertility problems by creating human embryos in a petri dish, a Hebrew University statement

WE ARE CLOSE TO GENERATING A SYNTHETIC EMBRYO’

Hebrew University researchers create embryo stem cells from skin cells

Discovery may pave the way to creating entire human embryos out of human skin cells, without sperm or eggs, says head of study

By SHOSHANNA SOLOMON2 May 2019, 2:11 pm 3

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Illustrative image of an embryo (Zffoto; iStock by Getty Images)Illustrative image of an embryo (Zffoto; iStock by Getty Images)

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they have found a way to transform skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stage embryos.

The discovery could pave the way to creating entire human embryos out of human skin cells, without the need for sperm or eggs, the researchers say. And it could also have “vast implications” for modeling embryonic defects and shedding light on placental dysfunctions, as well as solving certain infertility problems by creating human embryos in a petri dish, a Hebrew University statement said.

“You could say we are close to generating a synthetic embryo, which is a really crazy thing,” said Dr. Yossi Buganim of the university’s Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, who led the study that was published in Cell Stem Cell.

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This discovery could allow researchers in future “to generate embryos from sterile men and women, using only their skin cells, and generate a real embryo in a dish and implant the embryo in the mother,” Buganim said in a phone interview.

Researchers at the Hebrew Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they have found a way to transform skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stage embryos; the image shows 4-cell stage mouse embryos (Kirill Makedonski)

Buganim and his team discovered a set of five genes capable of transforming murine skin cells into all three of the cell types that make up the early embryo: the fetus itself, the placenta and the extra-embryonic tissues, such as the umbilical cord.

In 2006, Japanese researchers Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka discovered the capacity of skin cells to be “reprogrammed” into early embryonic cells that can generate an entire fetus through the use of four central embryonic genes. These genes reprogrammed the skin cells into “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPSCs), which are similar to cells that develop in the early days after fertilization and are essentially identical to their natural counterparts. These cells can develop into all fetal cell types, but not into extra-embryonic tissues, such as the placenta.

The Japanese researchers discovered that the four central embryonic genes can be used to “rejuvenate” the skin cells to function like embryonic stem cells, explained Buganim.

After fertilization of the egg, the cell divides into 64, creating a bowl of cells that make up the three crucial parts of an embryo — the epiblast, the inner cell mass which gives rise to the fetus itself; the primitive endoderm that is responsible for the umbilical cord; and a third part, the trophectoderm, that is responsible for creating the placenta.

What the Japanese managed to do, Buganim said, was to transform the skin cells into fetus stem cells. But that is not enough to create an entire embryo, he said, because the other parts are also needed — those that develop the umbilical cord and the placenta.

Dr. Yossi Buganim of The Hebrew University’s Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research (Shai Herman)

The breakthrough of the Hebrew University team, Buganim said, was creating with five genes all of the three essential compartments that make up the embryonic and extra-embryonic features necessary for the creation of an in-vitro embryo. The work was done with mice, and the team is now starting to apply the same research to human embryos, he added.

The researchers used five genes that are completely different from those used by the Japanese researchers, Buganim noted. The genes the Israeli researchers used are those that play a role in the early development of the embryo. They specify and direct what each cell will develop into, whether the umbilical cord, the placenta or the fetus itself.

The team used new technology to study the molecular forces that dictate how each of the cells develop. For example, the researchers discovered that the gene “Eomes” pushes the cell toward placental stem cell identity and placental development, while “Esrrb” orchestrates the development of fetus stem cells, attaining first, but just temporarily, an extra-embryonic stem cell identity.

“It was our idea to use those genes,” Buganim said.

The researchers then combined these five genes in such a way that, when inserted into skin cells, they managed to reprogram the cells into each of three early embryonic cell types in the same petri dish.

The discovery will enable researchers to better understand and address embryonic malfunctions and diseases such as placental insufficiencies or miscarriages, he said. This could enable researchers to use a dish to model the embryonic cells and identify early markers for risk.

Still, long way to go

The challenges ahead, however, are still huge, said Buganim. “An embryo is a three dimensional structure. We need to learn how to put this all together to generate a real embryo. We need to identify the ratios” of placental stem cells, umbilical cord cells and iPS cells, which create the fetuses, and in what “scaffold” to place them, he said.

“These cells know how to stick together,” Buganim said. “I need to give them the proper environment and the proper ratio to organize themselves into a real embryo.”

The study was done by Buganim together with Dr. Oren Ram from Hebrew University’s Institute of Life Science and Professor Tommy Kaplan from the university’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, as well as doctoral students Hani Benchetrit and Mohammad Jaber.

A member of Palestinian Civil Defence extinguishes a fire in the car of a Hamas commander who was killed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City May 5, 2019. A member of Palestinian Civil Defence extinguishes a fire in the car of a Hamas commander who was killed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City May 5, 2019. AFP::European Union foregin policy chief Federica Mogherini released a statement Sunday in which she expressed the EU’s support of Israel in light of the ongoing rocket fire aimed at the country. “The Eu reiterates its fundemental commitment to the security of Israel,” the statement read. Mogherini also added that “indiscriminate rocket attacks from Palestinian militants in Gaza must stop immediately.” 6:21 P.M. Gaza authorities report Palestinian killed in Rafah, bringing Palestinian death toll to 12 5:55 Military says it struck terrorist cell in southern Gaza 5:41 Public security minister meets with U.S. delegation skip – linkbloc for rashit >> Mortars, rockets and

A member of Palestinian Civil Defence extinguishes a fire in the car of a Hamas commander who was killed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City May 5, 2019.A member of Palestinian Civil Defence extinguishes a fire in the car of a Hamas commander who was killed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City May 5, 2019. AFP

European Union foregin policy chief Federica Mogherini released a statement Sunday in which she expressed the EU’s support of Israel in light of the ongoing rocket fire aimed at the country. "The Eu reiterates its fundemental commitment to the security of Israel," the statement read.

Mogherini also added that "indiscriminate rocket attacks from Palestinian militants in Gaza must stop immediately."

6:21 P.M. Gaza authorities report Palestinian killed in Rafah, bringing Palestinian death toll to 12

5:55 Military says it struck terrorist cell in southern Gaza

5:41 Public security minister meets with U.S. delegation

skip – linkbloc for rashit

>> Mortars, rockets and drones: A look at Hamas’ arsenal>> Timing is Everything: Hamas twists Israel’s arm right before the Eurovision and Independence Day >> For many Gazans, if flare-up with Israel brings relief – so be it

skip — דלג

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As the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew said about preventing terrorist attacks: “You must use force. But force will only deal with the tip of the problem. In killing the terrorists, you will only kill the worker bees. The que en bees are the preachers, who teach a deviant form of Islam in schools and Islamic centers, who capture and twist the m inds of the young.” Today, drug trafficking not only provides funding for terrorism, but there is a growing use of the organizational and logistical capabilities of criminal cartels to support terrorist operations, some of which contribut e to the geopolitical ambitions of nation states. In the South Columbo Muslim area of Dehiwala, a drug trafficker named Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who was designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a terrorist supporter in 2003, reportedl y set up a distribution hub. In 2018, authorities seized 736 kilograms of Dawood’s heroin. According to one article, D awood’s D-Company cartel obtains opi

As the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew said about preventing terrorist attacks:

“You must use force. But force will only deal with the tip of the problem. In killing the terrorists, you will only kill the worker bees. The queen bees are the preachers, who teach a deviant form of Islam in schools and Islamic centers, who capture and twist the minds of the young.”

Today, drug trafficking not only provides funding for terrorism, but there is a growing use of the organizational and logistical capabilities of criminal cartels to support terrorist operations, some of which contribute to the geopolitical ambitions of nation states.

In the South Columbo Muslim area of Dehiwala, a drug trafficker named Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who was designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a terrorist supporter in 2003, reportedly set up a distribution hub. In 2018, authorities seized 736 kilograms of Dawood’s heroin.

According to one article, Dawood’s D-Company cartel obtains opium from Afghanistan, where production is overseen by the Taliban. From there, logistics and transportation are arranged by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI), which provides protection for Dawood in his Karachi base and stipulates the distribution of a portion of the profits to various jihadist and militant groups.

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There is much concern about the growth of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. There are reports that Islamic State jihadis, who fought in Syria and Iraq, are migrating to Afghanistan, joining disaffected Taliban fighters seeking greater Islamic purity.

May 5, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Asia

The Next Islamic State Battlefield Will Be in South Asia

Washington has overlooked the explosive potential of Islamic State influence in Pakistan, which will only accelerate in the expected power vacuum left after a U.S. withdrawal.

by Lawrence Sellin

How did a small, fringe Wahhabi splinter group, led by a fiery speaker with a sixth-grade education, known mainly for defacing Buddhist symbols, carry out a coordinated and sophisticated terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka?

The answer is, it didn’t, not without external support, both direct and indirect.

The Sri Lanka attack reinforces the notion that the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attack, is more a brand around which forces with overlapping goals coalesce to exploit local or regional opportunities than an entity.

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The events in Sri Lanka were soon followed by the propaganda video reappearance of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who, acknowledging defeat in Syria and specifically citing the Sri Lankan attack, exhorted his followers to expand the fight.

Defeat in Syria has triggered a diaspora of Islamic State fighters either to their native lands or to targets of opportunity such as the thriving extremist networks in South Asia.

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The instigators of that extremism and operating continuously in the background are the global promoters of austere and often intolerant forms of Islam such as Wahhabism-Salafism, financed either by wealthy individuals or nation-states that offer forums for radicalization and sources for potential jihadi recruits.

The main group behind the Sri Lankan bombings, the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), is an ideological offspring of the rapidly growing, Saudi-funded Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ), which has a headquarters in Chennai, India. The TNTJ, a Wahhabi-based organization, helped establish the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath, from which the NTJ emerged as a splinter.

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It is a now well-known fact that some Islamic clerics and preachers play a significant role in the radicalization of young Muslims and their recruitment for terrorist attacks.

As the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew said about preventing terrorist attacks:

“You must use force. But force will only deal with the tip of the problem. In killing the terrorists, you will only kill the worker bees. The queen bees are the preachers, who teach a deviant form of Islam in schools and Islamic centers, who capture and twist the minds of the young.”

Today, drug trafficking not only provides funding for terrorism, but there is a growing use of the organizational and logistical capabilities of criminal cartels to support terrorist operations, some of which contribute to the geopolitical ambitions of nation states.

In the South Columbo Muslim area of Dehiwala, a drug trafficker named Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who was designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a terrorist supporter in 2003, reportedly set up a distribution hub. In 2018, authorities seized 736 kilograms of Dawood’s heroin.

According to one article, Dawood’s D-Company cartel obtains opium from Afghanistan, where production is overseen by the Taliban. From there, logistics and transportation are arranged by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI), which provides protection for Dawood in his Karachi base and stipulates the distribution of a portion of the profits to various jihadist and militant groups.

Report Advertisement

There is much concern about the growth of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. There are reports that Islamic State jihadis, who fought in Syria and Iraq, are migrating to Afghanistan, joining disaffected Taliban fighters seeking greater Islamic purity.

Although Afghanistan offers a potential power vacuum, which the Islamic State can fill, a far more fertile ground for expansion is in Pakistan.

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It is a little-known fact that the Islamic State now operating in Afghanistan, originated in Pakistan.

Members of the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan or TTP began migrating to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province as “refugees” in 2010 after Pakistani military operations against the TTP in Orakzai and Khyber Agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

It was those “refugees” who provided a foundation for the Islamic State. That base support was augmented by thousands of Pakistanis who fought for the Islamic State in Syria and returned starting in 2013.

In January 2015, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) was declared with former TTP commander Hafiz Saeed Khan of Orakzai as the leader, whose twelve-member Shura had nine Pakistanis.

It is the growing level of extremism and intolerance in Pakistan that should be of concern, which has been a threat to Afghanistan and will be the main contributor to instability in South Asia.

It is the direct result of official Pakistani policy and the activities of Pakistan’s ISI.

The “Islamization” program initiated by Pakistani President Muhammad Zia ul Haq in the late 1970s, which involved the proliferation of Islamic schools, “madrasas” and the promotion of Islamic law “Sharia,” was specifically designed to create national unity by suppressing ethnic separatism and religious diversity.

Not surprisingly, radical groups have proliferated in Pakistan, becoming increasingly more extreme and intolerant.

The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a Deobandi anti-Shia organization was created in the wake of the Iranian revolution to counter Shia influence in Pakistan. The rapid spread of fundamentalist Deobandi ideology in Pakistan has been widely attributed to funding from Saudi Arabia.

When the SSP proved insufficiently militant for its growing population of zealots, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) was formed as a splinter group of the SSP.

In the search for ever purer forms of Islam, the ever more violent and intolerant Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami (LeJ-A) was created out of the LeJ which, over the last two years, has claimed responsibility for several bloody atrocities in Balochistan, Pakistan’s southwest province. It has been reported that elements of the LeJ-A now comprise the senior cadres of the Islamic State in Pakistan.

Another so-called Islamic State affiliate operating in western Balochistan out of the city of Turbat, also known as a center for drug trafficking, is Laskar-e-Khorasan, a group accused of killing religious minorities.

Saudi support gradually shifted from the Deobandi to the more radical Ahle-Hadithmovement, the Pakistani equivalent of Wahhabism. It is a small ideological step from Ahl-i-Hadith to the Islamic State, which explains the growth of its affiliates in Pakistan.

Among such Sunni-supremacist groups believed to have received Saudi funding is Jaish al-Adl, which has carried out attacks on Iran from safe havens in Pakistan and reportedlyhas links to the Islamic State.

While downplaying the Islamic State threat in Afghanistan, U.S. officials have virtually ignored the explosive potential of Islamic State influence in Pakistan, which will only accelerate in the expected power vacuum left after a U.S. withdrawal.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, an international IT businessman and a veteran of Afghanistan, Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at lawrence.sellin

Image: Reuters

Israel says fresh Gaza strikes kills Hamas’s financial liaison to Iran 3 Israelis killed, 150 injured by barra ge of around 600 rockets and mortars fired from Palestinian enclave since Saturday 3min ago IDF says airstrike in southe rn Gaza targeting terrorist positions 18min ago Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon area 31min ago IDF says fresh airstrikes targeting terror cell in northern Gaza 41min ago Thai worker injured by shrapnel from Gaza rocket By TOI STAFF Today, 7 :47 am 9 11,083 shares Smoke billows above buildings in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an Israeli airstrike on the Palestinian coastal enclave, on May 5, 2019. (Said KHATIB / AFP)Smoke billows above buildings in Rafah in the southe rn Gaza Strip during an Israeli airstrike on the Palestinian coastal enclave, on May 5, 2019. (Said KHATIB / AFP)The sce ne of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Fl ash90)The scene of a car hit by a rocket fire

Israel says fresh Gaza strikes kills Hamas’s financial liaison to Iran

3 Israelis killed, 150 injured by barrage of around 600 rockets and mortars fired from Palestinian enclave since Saturday

By TOI STAFFToday, 7:47 am 9

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  • Smoke billows above buildings in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an Israeli airstrike on the Palestinian coastal enclave, on May 5, 2019. (Said KHATIB / AFP)Smoke billows above buildings in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an Israeli airstrike on the Palestinian coastal enclave, on May 5, 2019. (Said KHATIB / AFP)
  • The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • Magen David Adom paramedics treat a factory worker injured in a rocket strike in Ashkelon on May 5, 2019. (courtesy Magen David Adom)Magen David Adom paramedics treat a factory worker injured in a rocket strike in Ashkelon on May 5, 2019. (courtesy Magen David Adom)
  • Smoke trails from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip after they were intercepted by the Iron Dome on May 5, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)Smoke trails from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip after they were intercepted by the Iron Dome on May 5, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • The house of Moshe Agadi, 58, killed from shrapnel wounds after his house was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israel on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)The house of Moshe Agadi, 58, killed from shrapnel wounds after his house was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israel on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)