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Jewish Groups Pull Support From Oregon Food Bank for Blasting ‘Israel’s Violence’ in Gaza

Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in this handout picture released on March 5, 2024. Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

A total of 12 Jewish organizations based in Oregon, including nonprofits and five synagogues, announced in a joint statement that they will not support the Oregon Food Bank until it retracts its condemnation of Israel’s military actions during the ongoing Israeli campaign targeting Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The local Jewish groups, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, also called on the Oregon Food Bank to issue a new statement “indicating that it will maintain its focus on hunger and its root causes here in Oregon.”

They added, “Until such time we will support other local organizations who are upholding this important mission.”

On April 30, the Oregon Food Bank released a statement that called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end “Israel’s violence against Palestinians.” The organization — which collects and distributes food across five main locations in Oregon and southwest Washington — claimed that Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip puts Palestinians in the region “at risk of genocide.” The food bank condemned what it described as “indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli army on Palestinians, including the bombardment of neighborhoods, healthcare facilities, humanitarian aid efforts, and refugee camps.”

“The intentional obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts as well as the deliberate destruction of Palestinian food and lifeways, such as the intentional targeting of bakeries, hospitals, and housing units, exacerbates the suffering and vulnerability of Palestinians,” the food bank added. “These attacks illustrate how blocking food distribution and the weaponization of starvation is a violent tactic of war … Oregon Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger and its root causes. We know that colonial ideologies are root causes of hunger, including the legacy of World War II’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hatred, which fuel the current outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine.”

The statement on April 30 was the first time that the Oregon Food Bank has commented or released a political statement on an international conflict. The food bank also denounced the deadly Oct. 7 attacks committed by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel and called for the release of all hostages abducted that day by the terrorist organization. The group additionally condemned the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia in Oregon and southwest Washington.

In response, Jewish organizations — including Portland Jewish Academy, Oregon NCSY, and the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation — released a joint statement that accused the food bank of exhibiting a “bias” in its approach to a “complicated international situation.” They said the Oregon Food Bank is wrong for solely blaming the Jewish state for the Israel-Hamas war and “accusing Israel of waging war on a civilian population rather than battling a terrorist organization which brutally murdered, raped, and kidnapped more than a thousand of its citizens.”

The Oregon Food Bank’s statement “also includes false charges of colonialism and genocide which the Oregon Food Bank is not in a position to substantiate,” the Jewish groups said. “Antisemitism is on the rise in our nation and our community. In our view, the false accusations here serve to further fan the flames of Jewish hatred.”

Many of the Jewish groups have been longtime supporters of the Oregon Food Bank as donors and volunteers, some even since the food bank was founded in 1982. “We maintain a commitment to the mission of eliminating hunger in Oregon, and its root causes,” they explained. “But we cannot see how calling on one party of a conflict thousands of miles away to commit to a ceasefire, while allowing the terror organization that broke the ceasefire to continue to flourish on its borders, helps eliminate hunger in Oregon.”

On May 16, the Oregon Food Bank released a statement in recognition of Jewish-American Heritage Month, honoring “the resilience and contributions of Jewish peoples” and recognizing “the deep roots and present actions of antisemitism” across the US. The Jewish organizations said that while they appreciate the food bank’s remarks celebrating Jewish-American Heritage Month, “it does nothing to negate the harm already done.”

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IDF Operations in Gaza Have Led to Conditions for Hostage Deal, Israel’s Defense Chief Says

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin receives Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon in Washington, US, June 25, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The ongoing military operations of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza have created the necessary conditions for a ceasefire and hostage deal to be reached, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his US counterpart.

Gallant’s office on Wednesday released a statement outlining his overnight call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the Israel-Hamas war.

“IDF operations in Gaza have led to the conditions necessary to achieve an agreement for the return of hostages, which is the highest moral imperative at this time,” Gallant said, according to the statement.

Israeli officials have argued that applying significant military pressure is necessary to push Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, to agree to a ceasefire that involves the release of Israeli hostages.

During their call, Gallant provided Austin with a “situation assessment” of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, especially the IDF’s efforts to target senior Hamas leadership.

They also discussed the humanitarian situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza. According to the statement, Gallant informed Austin of his most recent order to build a temporary field hospital along the Gaza border in order to treat sick children.

The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded southern Israel, murdering 1,200 people and kidnapping about 250 hostages. Israel responded with an ongoing military campaign in neighboring Gaza to free the hostages and dismantle Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

Qatar, Egypt, and the US have been brokering talks between the two warring sides aimed at reaching a ceasefire that would include the release of Israeli hostages still in captivity in Gaza. Negotiations are ongoing.

Beyond Gaza, Gallant and Austin discussed the situation in northern Israel, where Lebanese Hezbollah has been striking daily with rockets, missiles, and drones.

Hamas and Hezbollah are both backed by Iran, which provides the Islamist terrorist groups with funding, weapons, and training.

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Google Acquisition Target Wiz Another Fruit of Israel’s Military Intelligence

Technologists with the Israeli military’s Matzpen operational data and applications unit work at their stations, at an IDF base in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 11, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

An elite Israeli military intelligence unit may once again be about to prove its value to the nation’s tech economy as Google‘s parent eyes cybertech company Wiz for an eye-watering $23 billion.

Alphabet Inc , a person familiar has said, is in advanced talks to buy Wiz from founder Assaf Rappaport, a former officer from the famed 8200 military unit, which has built a track record in turning out tech entrepreneurs.

As the war in Gaza squeezes Israel’s economy, the deal underscores the resilience of the tech industry, which accounts for some 20 percent of the country’s output and around 15 percent of jobs. It also highlights the military‘s role in developing one of Israel’s most successful sectors.

Along with universities, Israel’s military intelligence and technology units, such as 8200, have provided the leaders for hundreds of tech start ups, helping to turn Israel into what is widely considered the No. 2 tech center globally after Silicon Valley.

Check Point Software Technologies, Nice, Palo Alto Networks, CyberArk, Wix and Waze — bought by Google for $1 billion — are a handful of companies whose founders have military roots.

Rappaport credits the Israeli military for his success, once calling the 8200 unit “the best school of entrepreneurship.”

He served there with his “army buddies” Yinon Costica, Roy Reznik, and Ami Luttwak, with whom he co-founded his previous cloud security company Adallom in 2012, which they sold to Microsoft three years later for $320 million.

In 2020, at the outset of the COVID pandemic, the four started cloud cyber security company Wiz, rapidly building it into a company that was given a $12 billion valuation after a $1 billion funding round in May this year.

“In a way it’s like raising tigers and then releasing them to the wild,” Gili Raanan, founder of Venture capital firm Cyberstarts and general partner at Sequoia Capital, said of the intelligence units.


He said being from an elite intelligence unit is not a requirement for him when investing; however, “90 percent to 95 percent of the teams I see are made up made up of 8200 graduates.”

“So whether I look into that or not, that’s the talent pool I am looking at.”

Part of the reason is the free wheeling, meritocratic nature of the units, which allow their graduates to move smoothly into the startup world after their service ends, said Raanan, who was an initial investor in both Adallom and Wiz — now headquartered in New York with R&D in Tel Aviv.

Rappaport did not initially want to accept money from Sequoia for Adallom in 2012 and declined a number of meeting requests from Raanan.

Raanan insisted and he eventually agreed to meet at a gas station about 40 minutes north of Tel Aviv. “Essentially we signed the terms on a napkin in a gas station.”

While Israel has mandatory post-high school military service, the intelligence units have the right of first refusal so they “can screen for the best people,” said Dror Bin, chief executive of the Israel Innovation Authority.

8200 is the army’s main information gathering unit, where 18-21-year old soldiers develop and use tools to gather information, which they pass on to senior officials. It’s Israel’s version of the US National Security Agency.

Less known is 81, the Intelligence Corp’s Technological Unit that supplies cutting-edge technologies to Israeli combat soldiers.

Rappaport also served in this unit, which has been the launchpad for many cyber, AI, and fintech firms once soldiers return to civilian life.


Despite the cloud cast over the economy by the Gaza war, Israeli companies have been among the major beneficiaries of the boom in demand for cloud security and have benefited from a number of strong financing rounds.

Industry group Startup Nation Central on Wednesday said in a report that private funding in Israeli startups rose 31 percent to $5.1 billion in the first half of 2024 from the second half of 2023, with cybersecurity contributing 52 percent of the funding.

“One might expect the ‘Israeli factor’ to have a stronger impact on the Israeli tech activity, but the data suggests otherwise,” Avi Hasson, Startup Nation Central chief executive, said.

If the Wiz acquisition goes ahead, it would eclipse a $15.3 billion purchase of Mobileye by Intel in 2017 and provide at least $1 billion of tax income into Israeli coffers.

“Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s a sign of confidence in the Israeli tech sector,” said Bin.

“Deciding to make such a big investment in an Israeli based company during time of war means that it’s really a good deal,” he said adding he expected to see more.

“There are many good targets in Israel today for such acquisitions. And maybe even this potential decision of Google will accelerate investment decisions of others.”

Amiram Shachar, CEO and co-founder of Israeli cloud security firm Upwind Security, said Google potentially buying Wiz is the “best thing” that could have happened for both the cybersecurity and cloud industries and Israel’s ecosystem will benefit.

“It confirms that the cloud is the future,” he said, “and underscores the need to build comprehensive platforms, not just feature-specific companies, to protect it.”

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University of Windsor offers separate agreement to Jewish students after making a far-reaching deal with pro-Palestinian protesters

The University of Windsor issued an olive branch on July 16 to its Jewish students—and to Canada’s Jewish community and its allies—pledging to take “tangible” steps to make all students feel included, safe and welcome on the campus. The unexpected statement was released just days after Jewish groups reacted with outrage to the school’s July […]

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