Briefing: Nazi Twitter bots, IDF morality, and a secret rescue

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March 27, 2016 15:38

The JPost Podcast's weekly briefing catches you up on the most important stories from the past week.

3 minute read.



Briefing: Nazi Twitter bots, IDF morality, and a secret rescue

Briefing: Nazi Twitter bots, IDF morality, and a secret rescue


  



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This past week, ISIS Terrorists killed 31 people in a shocking, triple attack in Brussels.

Belgium’s Jewish community joined the chorus of critics decrying incompetence in the country’s counter-terror apparatus. The community came under attack in May, 2014 in a terrorist shoot-up of the Brussels Jewish museum that killed four,

Some Israeli politicians made controversial remarks calling Belgian authorities to task after the attack, which was linked to the Paris shootings in November. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said Belgians were too busy eating chocolates to deal with the threat of fundamentalism. Likud MK Nava Boker said the attacks resulted from attempts to make Muslims feel at home rather than rooting out extremism, while Zionist Union MK Kesenia Svetlova said that the terror showed how "European multi-culturalism has failed."

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Israeli cyber security company Cellebrite is reportedly helping the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, according to several media reports. A debate about security and privacy concerns arose after the FBI ordered Apple to unlock the phone, which Apple has refused to do on grounds that it would compromise security to its devices more broadly. If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need Apple’s help.

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Israel ran a secret mission to bring some of the last Jews living in Yemen to Israel. According to the Jewish Agency, clandestine activity culminated in the aliya of 19 Jews, from the town of Raydah and the capital Sanaa.

The US State Department was reportedly involved in the mission and helped coordinate the complex transfer of the Jews after the group faced persecution.

Some 50 members remain in Yemen’s Jewish community, but did not want to leave despite the country’s descent into civil war.

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Israelis were outraged when an IDF soldier shot and killed a Palestinian terrorist who had already been neutralized. Six minutes after the terrorist incident ended, the Kfir Brigade soldier arrived and decided, on his own, to fire on the wounded Palestinian assailant

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot all condemned the soldier for flouting the IDF rules of engagement, which they said were the most moral in the world. Those comments drew a rebuke from far-right politicians including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

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Former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said that the Israel Defense Forces were capable of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities with a preemptive strike if presented with no other alternative. According to a Channel 10 report, he told a gathering in Beersheba the the "Israel Air Force can meet the challenge of exterminating Iran's nuclear reactors if necessary."

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The head of General Security for Dubai, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said on his Twitter page that an independent Palestine would join the list of failed Arab states. Palestinians, he added, should abandon their aspiration for an independent state and merge with Israeli Jews in a united, bi-national state instead. Eventually, he concluded, Arabs would become a majority anyhow and inherit the shared state.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu came out strongly Thursday against comments by Shas politicians accusing the Reform Movement of trying to destroy the Jewish people.

On Wednesday, in a motion to the Knesset’s agenda on the eve of Purim, Shas MK Yigal Guetta compared Reform Jewry to Haman, the villain of the Scroll of Esther. He also said that they are trying to “sabotage God’s Torah.”

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Extremists from the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim suspended an effigy of a haredi IDF soldier from a cable across one of the narrow streets of the neighborhood on Shushan Purim. The effigy was strung up next to a sign that warned ultra-Orthodox soldiers from entering the neighborhood.

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Microsoft had to pull the plug on its artificial intelligence tweeting robot TayTweets, after it began posting offensive comments, including “Hitler was right I hate the jews.” Microsoft said it was making changes after the AI bot learned offensive behavior from its interactions with humans on Twitter.

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And finally, Israeli Universities ranked seven times in the 2016 QS World University Rankings top 100, by Subject. Though the showing was a decrease from the 11 showings Israel made in 2015, the report found that the Hebrew University was the most-featured top-100 university, making a showing for agriculture and forestry, and history, anthropology.


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