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Unveiling clock showing 8,411 days left for Israel, Iranians rage against Jewish state

Protesters burn flags and chant 'death to Israel' at annual rallies held across Tehran

TEHRAN — Iran held major anti-Israel rallies across the country Friday, with protesters chanting “Death to Israel” and condemning the occupation of Palestinian land.

Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city toward the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities and towns in Iran, according to state media.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard used the demonstration in the capital’s Valiasr Square to showcase three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar — the type that Iran used this week to target the Islamic State group in Syria. The Guard said it fired six such missiles on Sunday at IS targets in the city of Deir el-Zour, more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) away. The Guard said the airstrike was in retaliation for an IS attack earlier in June on Iran’s parliament and a shrine in Tehran that killed 18 people and wounded more than 50.

Another missile on display at the Tehran rally was the Ghadr, with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can reach both Israel and US bases in the region.

Iran’s ballistic missile program has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated US sanctions

 

Read More: Times of Israel

Multiple sclerosis study reveals possible trigger

Multiple sclerosis study reveals possible trigger

Multiple sclerosis, one of the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases, affects some 2.5 million people worldwide and has no known cure.

Researchers have long speculated that MS is triggered by the body’s own immune system unleashing an uncontrolled attack on myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells (neurons).

A study published by Israeli scientists in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) pinpoints a structural instability in the myelin membranes, the “insulating tape” surrounding neurons.

This vulnerability seems to be what gives the immune system access to otherwise protected regions.

“We found that small modifications in the myelin sheaths create structural instabilities that may help the immune system to enter and attack neurons,” said principal investigator Prof. Roy Beck of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and Sagol School of Neurosciences.

“Current therapeutic approaches have focused on the autoimmune response without identifying a clear mechanism. Our research suggests a new avenue for multiple sclerosis therapies and diagnostics,” Beck said.

Breaking down the insulation

Axons, which carry electrical impulses in neurons, are surrounded by protective myelin sheaths. In MS, an autoimmune “error” mistakenly identifies these sheaths as hostile foreign entities and breaks them down.

The research, conducted by Rona Shaharabani, a doctoral student in Prof. Beck’s lab, pinpoints the precise alterations to the myelin sheaths that result in structural instabilities, creating “easy access” for autoimmune attacks.

“After years of research, we were amazed to discover that a possible trigger for the outbreak of the disease could be found in the membrane’s physical structure,” said Beck.

Read more: Israel 21c

Jared Kushner lands in Israel, rushes to visit Malka family

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While Kushner arrived in Israel in a bid to restart a new peace initiative and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians under the direction of the new administration, he immediately paid the visit to the Malka family in Givat Ezer as they continue to mourn their fallen daughter. He was joined by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

A close friend of the Malka family said that the duration of the visit lasted for approximately half an hour.

“He offered the condolences to the bereaved family from the US president, who spoke to his son-in-law on the way and asked that he be kept updated about the visit,” the friend said.

“(Kushner) said that the president himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States.”

The family associate went on to say that the Malka family had told Kushner about their brave daughter, her patriotism, and that that after serving in the IDF she joined the Border Police.

“She always said to them that it is important to guard the capital of Israel, Jerusalem because if we don’t protect the capital, there won’t be a state. The father told (Kushner) and the ambassador that,” the friend claimed. “The ambassador was also apprised of developments regarding the investigation, which began with the arrest of the person who drove (the attackers to the target site—ed) and the arrest of one of the terrorist’s mother.

“The father told him that on the one hand there is a mother who is crying and in pain over the death of her daughter. On the other hand, there is a mother who is praising and glorifying her son who should have killed more people from her point of view. The father addressed this stark contrast.”

Read More: Y Net

The illiberal left attacks Christian Zionists again

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Every few years, a young far-left activist discovers Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and they are appalled. The idea of conservative Evangelicals advocating for the Jewish state runs counter to every prejudice about Christians the young advocate was raised to harbor. So the individual scours the internet, desperately hunting for that one item that will confirm their bigotry. And when they come up dry, they ignore, tinker with or amend the facts because they cannot confront a simple reality: they are intolerant of Evangelical Christians.

The latest example of this pattern is provided to us by Benjamin Koatz, who authored an op-ed in The Forward demonizing Christian supporters of Israel in an effort to justify his group, IfNotNow’s decision to disrupt a pro-Israel church event. The piece does not discuss real policy disagreements with CUFI, but it makes painfully clear just how far gone are the author and his cohorts.

As part of the effort to denigrate CUFI founder and chairman John Hagee, Koatz links to a video produced by the organization We Hold These Truths. On Koatz’s own blog he notes that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described We Hold These Truths as a “conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic group.”

It’s not surprising that Koatz finds common cause with the darkest fringe groups on the internet since he believes, “This far-right Evangelical Zionist dominion still reads to me like political conspiracy theory.” Nor is it surprising that Koatz’s attack was published by The Forward which has an unfortunate history in this context.

While not relying on anti-Semites to substantiate his other claims, the rest of Koatz’s assertions are equally absurd. We’ve heard them all before, and they’ve all been discredited.

For example, Koatz argues that CUFI’s members and Hagee are anti-Semites. The opposite, of course, is true. And on the specific assertion regarding Hagee’s sermon on the Book of Jeremiah, that issue was closed nearly a decade ago. In fact, at the matter’s conclusion the ADL wrote a letter to Hagee noting, “We are grateful that you have devoted your life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel.”

In addition, Koatz also goes to great lengths to argue that Christian Zionism is motivated by eschatology. This anti-Christian stereotype has been debunked in a variety of outlets including  New York Magazine. In fact, in 2011 Hagee noted the following in the very same outlet that published Koatz’s appalling accusations: “The vast majority of Christian Zionists and Evangelicals do not believe there is anything we can do to hasten the second coming of Jesus. Our theology is clear that we humans are utterly powerless to change God’s timetable. Yes, like many Jews we do believe that the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. And like our Jewish friends we also search the scriptures to understand what may come next in God’s plans for His creation. But since we are powerless to change these plans, our motives for standing with Israel come from elsewhere.”

It’s plain to see that Koatz is dishonest and misguided. But what is far more troubling is that he and his group behave as if Christian Zionists do not deserve the same basic decency accorded to all other people groups.

Reasonable individuals can disagree without behaving unreasonably. Groups like Americans for Peace Now, which often disagree with CUFI’s policy positions, make their case without demonizing Christian Zionists. And CUFI discusses policy on a regular basis with those who hold a different worldview. CUFI has met with leaders that span the political spectrum, from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Vice President Mike Pence. At times we disagree and at others we find common ground,but never do we denigrate or demonize.

I’m not sure if Koatz and his group genuinely want to effect policy or if they are simply interested in making a spectacle, but either way, barging into a church sanctuary and advancing anti-Christian stereotypes is simply beyond the pale.