VFI News July 21, 2020

Holocaust Memorial Defaced by Animal Rights Activists in Cologne

The Jewish community in the city of Cologne, Germany, woke up this week to discover that the city's Holocaust memorial, the Löwenbrunnen children’s memorial, was vandalized by animal rights activists during a demonstration last weekend, according to the Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner.

The protesters, seeking to protest against factory farming methods and draw public attention, painted the memorial with red dye to simulate blood, alongside other slogans protesting against animal abuse.

The Holocaust memorial commemorates more than 1,100 Jewish children from Cologne who were deported to concentration camps during the Nazi rule of Germany.

Abraham Lehrer, deputy chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and an active community leader in Cologne, issued a harsh statement following the incident, which he described as “an act of boundless tastelessness and a mockery of the victims of the Holocaust, especially children and young people and their surviving relatives.”

However, the involved activists from Animal Rebellion, the organization that staged the protests, denied any antisemitic motives behind their actions, pointing out that several fountains in the city were also selected for the red dye protest. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless and heal the people of Cologne—that you teach them wisdom and compassion for those who have suffered before them.”

Gravestones Vandalized in Europe’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

At least 50 gravestones in the medieval Jewish cemetery in the German city of Worms were smeared with a greenish paint, the city said in a statement.

There are about 2,500 gravesites in the cemetery, which is called Heiliger Sand, or Holy Sands, some dating back to the mid-11th century. Among the vandalized gravesites was the tomb of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, known as the Maharam, a prominent rabbi who died in 1293.

Meanwhile, experts reportedly are working to figure out how to clean and restore the gravestones.

“We do not yet know what material the paint is made of and how we can remove the smears without damaging the valuable tombstones,” Mayor Hans-Joachim Kosubek said in the statement. “According to initial findings, the main gravestones in the medieval part of the cemetery are affected, the rocks of which are particularly sensitive due to their age.”

The statement also called the incident a “slap in the face” to the city. The city website said that it did not believe the vandalism was motivated by antisemitism or politics. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you root out all those who sow discord among us—especially those who engage in antisemitic actions.”

FMR NYPD Comm’r to US Jews: Protect your Communities

Jewish communities in America should follow the example of those in Europe and put security measures in place in synagogues, Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has said in an interview, as he warned that “we are in a dangerous place in history.”

“In the US the Jewish community needs to be more alert about who is entering community premises,” Kelly said, warning that in today's environment, synagogues cannot be fully open environments.

Kelly, who now heads the Anti-Semitism Accountability Project (ASAP), has visited ten European countries to meet with government and faith leaders to examine how antisemitism is being tackled on the Continent in comparison with the US, he said.

“Antisemitism there is not new. Neo-Nazis have never gone away, and populism is helping them flex their muscles,” Kelly noted. “Jewish groups in the US should learn from the European example in putting stronger security measures in place.” (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless, heal, and protect the Jewish community in the US, and all those who suffer persecution for their heritage.”

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. —Hebrews 4:12

Zoom Vulnerability: Discovered & Fixed by Israeli Researchers

Israeli researchers from the company Check Point discovered and fixed a previously unknown program vulnerability that allowed cybercriminals to take advantage and phish users of the popular videoconferencing service Zoom, which has gained many users in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release from the company on Thursday.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Zoom has gone from 10 million average participants in December 2019 to 300 million by April 2020, serving as an important means for holding high-level government and business meetings, university and school classes and family gatherings, prompting cybercriminals to register more domains with the name "Zoom," which may trick people into disclosing personal information on these fake websites.

In January 2020, Check Point discovered a vulnerability that would allow hackers to potentially identify and join active meetings, making vulnerable business secrets and more, leading Zoom to close the access point. (JPost / VFI News)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

Israeli Companies to Manufacture Anti-Coronavirus Construction Materials

Tera Novel has signed an exclusive strategic cooperation agreement with Tambour, one of Israel's leading paint and construction material manufacturers, to produce and market products containing Tera Novel's patented antibacterial additive that neutralizes viral compounds such as the coronavirus.

In line with the strategic deal, Tera Novel and Tambour intend to integrate the antibacterial additive, called "Germs Over," with an admixture of either paint products, preparation and filling materials (such as plaster and cement), gypsum products, adhesives or other construction materials already marketed and manufactured by Tambour.

Tera Novel and Tambour would then market the antibacterial products to hospitals, clinics and health centers, who would, in turn, use the paint and other various products containing the additive to treat walls, rooms, etc. – effectively destroying "100% of the bacteria" that comes into contact with the treated surface and preventing the spread of infection within these institutions, according to the companies. (JPost / VFI News)

Rapid Corona Testing to Undergo Final Validation

Israel continues to be plagued by long waits between tests and results. However, a testing tool developed during the first coronavirus wave by Israeli researchers is undergoing final validation and should be available for use by winter – when the public could suffer from a combination of flu and COVID-19.

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Rambam Health Care Campus say that the “pooling” method they successfully tested in March, which would increase testing capacity and speed, is undergoing final validation; they hope it will be accessible to hospitals and health fund labs soon.

Pooling, which has been used since World War II and became better known in the 1990s as a way of testing for HIV, enables simultaneous testing of dozens of samples.

“This way we can significantly accelerate the testing rate,” Technion research Idan Yelin explained. “Only in those rare cases, where the joint sample is found to be positive, will we conduct an individual test for each of the specific samples.” (JPost / VFI News)

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. —Jeremiah 33:6

Israeli Scientists: New Method Improves Brain Function in Elderly

The cognitive function of aging adults can be increased using a broad and commonly used treatment in the medical field called the hyperbaric oxygen therapy protocol (HOTP), according to an unprecedented joint study done by several Israeli medical institutions.

"More than half of community-dwelling individuals sixty years and older express concern about declining cognitive abilities," states the study which aimed to evaluate the HBOT effect on cognitive functions in healthy aging adults.

The study found an improvement in the cognitive function in areas including attention, information processing speed, executive function, in addition to the global cognitive function, all of which typically decline with age. A significant correlation between cognitive changes and improved cerebral blood flow in specific brain locations was found. (JPost / VFI News)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. —2 Corinthians 4:16

Lawmakers Call on EU to Ban Hezbollah

In an unprecedented transatlantic initiative, over 230 cross-party lawmakers from Europe, North America, and Israel urged the European Union (EU) to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.

Friday’s campaign launch marks the eve of the twin anniversaries of Hezbollah’s deadly bomb attacks on the AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994 and an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria in 2012. Among the signatories are numerous members and chairs of foreign affairs and EU committees, party leaders, parliamentary vice presidents, heads of inter-parliamentary friendship groups with Israel and the US, and several lawmakers who have previously served as president, prime minister, and foreign and defense ministers.

The growing number of legislators from the EU and national parliaments from 25 EU member states, the UK, Switzerland, the U.S., Canada, and Israel dismiss the false distinction the EU created seven years ago when it designated only Hezbollah’s so-called military arm, underlining the danger the entire group poses. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you help the international community to come together against hatred, and to take a stand against those who engage in terrorism and genocide.”