Roman Abramovich

Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley says she "doesn't think it's particularly fair" that Roman Abramovich has decided to sell Chelsea following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Chelsea have won 17 major trophies since Russian billionaire Abramovich bought the club in 2003, but he announced on Wednesday that he was planning to sell.

Abramovich, 55, has faced calls from politicians for him to be sanctioned as he is alleged to have strong ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, which he has denied.

Staveley, speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, also faced questions about Newcastle's relationship with Saudi Arabia, following the club's Saudi-backed takeover.

She said: "We're always going to have geopolitical issues.

"I'm really sad that someone is going to have a football club taken away because of a relationship he may have with someone.

"I don't think that's particularly fair to be honest. But we do have to hold all of our relationships to account," Amanda Staveley said

Staveley's PCP Capital Partners firm led a Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle for £305m in October.  Staveley reiterated that the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which owns 80% of Newcastle, was "separate" from the Saudi state, which has been accused of human rights abuses.

October's £305m takeover was subject to Newcastle providing "legally binding assurances" to the Premier League that the state would not control the club. "We should always be held to task," she added. "One thing we showed when doing the Premier League [ownership] test was that there was that separation. We and the PIF run the club with autonomy."

Staveley, who owns 10% of Newcastle shares but admitted in High Court documents to borrowing £30.5m from fellow co-owners the Reuben brothers, also said she had looked at buying Chelsea before setting up a consortium to buy Newcastle.

"One great thing about taking four years to buy Newcastle is we had a great opportunity to look at every club, including Chelsea," she said. "Chelsea is a wonderful club, but there was only one club for us and will only ever be one club for us.

"We like the challenge of buying a club at 20th position [in the league] and getting it to the top."

Meanwhile, Staveley and her husband and business partner Mehrdad Ghodoussi are the subject of a High Court claim by former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who says she breached the terms of a £10m loan by criticizing his tenure at the club.

A spokesperson has said they are "confident" of defending the claims. The allegation centres around comments she made about "looking forward" to removing signs advertising Ashley's company Sports Direct at St James' Park and being "slightly frustrated" about being unable to take a picture without the signs in view.

Those signs were removed in December, two months after the takeover, which pleased fans who thought it was a hangover from the previous regime.  Asked about the case, Staveley added: "We have filed a defense. We are big fans of his and fans of Sports Direct, but we want to see something different for Newcastle. --BBCi 

                    AJC ELECTS ITS 2022 CEO


American Jewish Committee (“AJC”) has elected Ted Deutch, a member of the United States House of Representatives and lifelong Jewish and pro-Israel activist, to serve as American Jewish Committee’s next Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2022.

Deutch is currently serving his seventh term representing Broward and Palm Beach Counties of South Florida, and has been a close friend and partner of AJC throughout his tenure in Congress. He has a track record of reaching across party lines to build bipartisan consensus and has been a champion in the House of Representatives on issues of concern to AJC and the broader Jewish community -- most notably, combating antisemitism, supporting the State of Israel, and countering the threats posed by Iran.

AJC’s succession committee, in partnership with executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, conducted an extensive search to identify the right visionary leader to build on AJC CEO David Harris’s extraordinary legacy, further enhance AJC’s strengths, and set the course for the next era of Jewish advocacy. Our 28-member Executive Council unanimously agreed that we have found that leader in Ted. His demonstrated passion for AJC’s core issues, extensive foreign policy experience, deep relationships with political leaders and diplomats around the world, fidelity to fundamental principles, and longstanding relationship with AJC make him a natural fit to carry on and lead the vital work of our organization.

As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which he serves as Chairman of the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee, Ted has worked closely with members on both sides of the aisle to advance the values and interests of the United States, Israel, and our allies. He is also a founding Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Antisemitism, and has spoken passionately on the House floor against the increasing incidence of antisemitic expression, confronting colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have invoked such tropes and language. You can learn more about Ted here.

Perhaps most importantly, Ted is wholeheartedly committed to AJC’s mission and to its non-partisan, centrist approach. To quote Ted, “helping the Jewish people and the State of Israel is what my whole life has been about.”

David Harris will remain AJC CEO until Ted formally assumes the role in October, after which he will stay on as a consultant for one year to assist in a seamless transition. On behalf of AJC, I would like to thank David for building AJC into the incredible organization it is today, and for his steadfast leadership and support throughout this process. With gratitude to David, our talented staff, dedicated lay leaders, and enthusiastic incoming CEO, I am confident that this transition period will be smooth and successful and our unparalleled global Jewish advocacy organization will continue to chart the path toward a brighter future.



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                                 photo Birthright Israel

TEL AVIV -- As news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached Israel, Birthright Israel began working to support participants from those countries who are currently in Israel, offering the option to stay in Israel, or reunite with their families when possible.

There are three Birthright Israel groups from Russia and Ukraine currently in Israel, of which 26 participants are from Ukraine. Sixteen Ukrainian participants were supposed to fly home on Thursday morning, but while they were sitting on planes, bombing began in Kiev and flights were immediately canceled.  Birthright then placed them at a hotel in Tel Aviv. Eighteen Russian participants are staying at another hotel in Tel Aviv, courtesy of Birthright, after their flight to Moscow was postponed.  

Another 10 Ukrainian young people are currently touring Jerusalem in a mixed Birthright group with 10 participants from Russia. Many Birthright Israel participants from Ukraine expressed shock as they anxiously followed the news.

Anastasia Bilig, a Kiev resident, said her thoughts are with her friends in the region. “It's horrible. It's terrible. And I have no words in my mind to describe it. I feel scared that these things can happen in the 21st century,” she said.

Lola Koktysh, also of Kiev, said she maintains hope despite her sense of shock. “I'm in full shock. I knew the situation was intensifying fast, but no one could predict what would happen today. And right now, everyone is afraid. There is panic, but people are still hopeful. And even in the light of the heartbreaking events, we are staying united,” she said.

Birthright Israel brings close to 5,000 participants from Russian-speaking countries on tours of Israel every year, with the majority coming from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Since its inception, more than 55,000 Russian speaking participants have taken part in a Birthright Israel trip. After a two-year series of suspensions due to Covid-19, trips resumed this month.
Taglit-Birthright Israel offers a free, life-changing trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32 and, in doing so, transforms the Jewish future. Its mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the less connected, the opportunity to visit Israel on an educational trip. Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world that has given over 750,000 journeys to the state of Israel. Specifically with groups from the FSU, Birthright Israel works in partnership with Genesis Philanthropy Group to provide participants with various enrichment experiences while they are on their trip.


Cont'd from Column 2

"Being awarded the Bonei Zion prize is the fulfillment of the Zionist dreams of my parents, who instilled in me the values of responsibility, commitment, involvement, and fulfillment in assuring the future of the Jewish People in their homeland. The Zionist values of Anglo olim are changing the face of modern Israel. I am incredibly moved to be considered among those whose activities have contributed to the State of Israel," Prof. Chamovitz said upon being informed of the honor.

“It is a privilege to recognize these inspiring Olim for the exceptional leadership and contributions they have made nationally and globally, especially during these uncertain and challenging times,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Nefesh B’Nefesh Co-Founder and Executive Director. “The Bonei Zion Prize recipients are models of excellence in the community and shining examples of the incredible impact that Olim make in all facets of life in Israel.”

The prize ceremony will be held in May. The Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize was established in September 2013 to formally recognize the achievements of outstanding Anglo Olim and their contribution to the State of Israel. The Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize was established in 2016.

According to Nefesh B'Nefesh. as Aliyah from Western countries continues to increase, English-speaking Olim are making a remarkable impact on the Jewish State – economically, socially and culturally – contributing to Israeli society in all fields of endeavor, including education, global impact, medicine & science and the arts. This award is an expression of support for Olim whose contributions have helped better Israel in a meaningful way and acknowledges those who encapsulate the spirit of modern-day Zionism by contributing towards developing the State of Israel.

Daniel Chamovitz is the 7th President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Previously he served as Dean of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, where he also founded the Manna Program in Food Safety and Security. Chamovitz grew up in Aliquippa, PA and is a proud alumnus of Young Judaea. He took part in the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad in Jerusalem, and then studied at both Columbia University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received his Ph.D. in Genetics. He carried out postdoctoral research at Yale University under fellowships from the European Molecular Biology Organization and the Human Frontiers Science Research Program. He returned to Israel on the prestigious Alon Fellowship of the Council for Higher Education in Israel for Outstanding Young Researchers. His scientific career has been characterized by novel and field-defining research on plant biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, and systems biology. He has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles and served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. Chamovitz has also held positions as a visiting scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and a visiting Professor at the School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences at Peking University.

Chamovitz is a sought-after speaker and science commentator. He has lectured worldwide on issues of global food security. His 2012 book What a Plant Knows has been translated into 19 languages and was featured in the world press and media. 


Ben Gurion University

Professor Menny Shalom

BEER-SHEVA, Israel -- The Blavatnik Family Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities announced recently the Laureates of the 2022 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel. This year’s Laureates will each receive $100,000.

For the first time, a scientist from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was one of the prize's laureates.
Professor  Menny Shalom of the Department of Chemistry was recognized for the development of new types of advanced materials for alternative energy sources. These low-cost materials are stable under harsh conditions and can be utilized in the development of solar cells, batteries, and fuel cells.

There are a variety of ways to approach the problem of renewable and sustainable energy production. Major advances in materials synthesis and manufacturing techniques, as well as the sheer need for more energy worldwide, have brought about a rapid increase in the study of solar energy conversion into fuel, through the development of materials which are capable of capturing, storing, and releasing energy from sunlight. Professor  Shalom approaches this difficult problem through the rational design of novel, inexpensive, easily synthesized, and chemically stable materials that contain only the elements carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and boron.  Materials developed by Shalom have found uses in a variety of applications including photoelectrochemical water splitting to hydrogen and oxygen, batteries, and photocatalysts—tiny particles that speed up chemical reactions when exposed to light. Through careful analysis of the mechanisms by which these materials are made and their resulting behavior, this work will have a significant impact on renewable and sustainable energy production.

“I am grateful to the Blavatnik Family Foundation for this honor,” says Professor  Shalom, “I want to thank all my former and current group members and my mentors for walking with me along this exciting scientific road. I have learned a lot from each one of them.”

The Blavatnik Awards recognize exceptional scientists at the early stages of their careers for their achievements and their demonstrated potential for future discoveries. The prizes are awarded to researchers aged 42 and younger for groundbreaking work in the disciplines of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences & Engineering. The Blavatnik Awards in Israel parallel their international counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards and Blavatnik Regional Awards in the United States, and the Blavatnik Awards in the United Kingdom.

Additional 2022 Israeli laureates included Weizmann Institute of Science Profs. Noam Stern-Ginnosar and Ronen Eldan.

The 2022 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel will be conferred at a ceremony held at the Peres Center for Peace & Innovation in Tel Aviv-Jaffa on June 8, 2022. The Laureates will join a cadre of young scientists from across Israel who have been honored by the Blavatnik Awards in Israel since the launch of the Awards in 2017. In addition, the Laureates will become part of the international Blavatnik Science Scholars community, which, by the close of 2022, will total over 400 young scientists from around the world. Each summer the Laureates are invited to attend the annual Blavatnik Science Symposium in New York City hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences, where past and present Blavatnik Awards honorees from around the world come together to share new ideas and forge collaborations for novel, cross-disciplinary research.

"Israel's remarkable science is led by brilliant young men and women who push boundaries with discoveries that improve lives and expand knowledge,” said Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and Head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.  “We honor these three outstanding, innovative scientists for their significant contributions and look forward to their future work and discoveries in the years to come."

Nicholas B. Dirks, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, said, “Israel has a long history of investing in academic science. As a result, Israel is now a thriving global center of scientific research and technological innovation. We are proud to administer the Blavatnik Awards in its fifth year in Israel with our partner, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and to recognize this year’s exceptional young Blavatnik Awards in Israel Laureates, including the first Laureate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.”

Professor David Harel, President of The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, said, “In this challenging pandemic period, we take pride in continuing our collaboration with the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences to maintain the tradition of bestowing these distinguished awards upon outstanding Israeli scientists. We are confident that the present massive investment will yield significant benefits for the international scientific community and will inspire future generations of scientists to follow in the footsteps of this year’s Laureates, by leading humanity to further magnificent breakthroughs.”

During the nomination period for the 2022 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel, 37 nominations were received from seven universities across the country. Members of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council, which includes Nobel Laureates, Professors Aaron Ciechanover and David Gross and Professor Sir Richard Roberts, along with Chairman of the Israel Space Agency and Chairman of the National Council for R&D for the Ministry of Science and Technology of Israel, Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, were also invited to submit nominations. Three distinguished juries composed of leading scientists representing the three disciplinary categories and led by Israel Academy members, selected the 2022 Laureates.



BGU President Professor

Daniel Camovitz

BEER-SHEVA, Israel – Ben-Gurion University President Professor Daniel Chamovitz was awarded the 2021 Sylvan Adams Nefesh B'Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize for Education, the prize committee announced today.

Chamovitz will be recognized for "exemplary dedication and accomplishments in the field of education and, specifically, plant sciences, as well as for the incredible achievement of assuming the role of President of Ben-Gurion University. You represent an example and a source of inspiration for all Olim, past and future, for your contributions to the State of Israel," the prize committee wrote.

The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles


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