Col. Richard Kemp: The bravest and the best
Are we no longer allowed heroes? The 2017 film “Churchill” is nothing less than a character assassination of the man who led Britain to victory in World War II. The movie “7 Days in Entebbe,” released last week in Israel, gives similar treatment to the hero of the dramatic rescue, Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu. The film is based on a book about the raid by the distinguished British historian Professor Saul David.
Incredibly, in an interview last week, David seemed to suggest that the German terrorists at Entebbe played a greater role than Netanyahu in saving the hostages’ lives. He claims they had second thoughts, deliberately sparing the hostages when they could have killed them.
Why? Because they had developed empathy for their captives and “it wouldn’t have looked good for Germans to kill Jews again, after the Holocaust.” Look good to whom? It doesn’t add up. They had seized Jewish hostages at gunpoint, conducted a “selection” chillingly reminiscent of Auschwitz and were members of a rabidly anti-Semitic terror group, the Revolutionary Cells.
Meanwhile, David dismisses Netanyahu, claiming his research shows he “was not a central figure in the planning of the operation.” Yet Netanyahu’s Sayeret Matkal comrades who were there describe him as “the father of the operation,” confirming that he did in fact plan the rescue in meticulous detail after being given orders by Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron,
the overall commander, to take over the airport terminal and release the hostages.
In the midst of the Judean Revolt of 66-70 CE, the Jewish rebel officer Josephus, his unit defeated, defected to the Roman forces; eventually the emperor Vespasian and his son and successor Titus became Josephus’ patrons, and he went on to have an illustrious career writing about Jewish history and defending Jews and Judaism against their slanderers. He came to the city of Rome in 71 CE, and most likely lived there until his death around the year 100. David Laskin reports on traveling through Rome with the works of Josephus as his guide. Here he imagines the imperial parade—memorialized in the Arch of Titus—during which the emperor celebrated the Jews’ defeat and the destruction of their Temple:
I tried to erase from my mind [today’s] T-shirts and selfie sticks and resurrect the fallen columns. Vespasian and Titus, riding chariots, would have been two dabs of purple surging up the ramparts of the Capitoline [hill] through a sea of white togas. In their train, thousands of Jewish slaves shuffled with bowed heads while the heaps of plundered gold and silver bobbed above them, winking in the sun. “Last of all the spoils,” writes Josephus, “was carried a copy of the Jewish Law”—the Torah.
Josephus reveals exactly where these spoils ended up. Vespasian had a new temple—the Templum Pacis (Temple of Peace)—built adjacent to the Forum where “he laid up the vessels of gold from the temple of the Jews, on which he prided himself; but their Law and the purple hangings of the sanctuary he ordered to be deposited and kept in the palace.” The palace, in ancient Rome, meant the Palatine (the word palace derives from the hill’s name). . . .
Josephus notes that the Templum Pacis, built “very speedily in a style surpassing all human conception,” housed not only the spoils of Jerusalem but also “ancient masterpieces of painting and sculpture, . . . objects for the sight of which men had once wandered over the whole world.” . . .
So how does Hamas incite violence? Increasingly they’re using social media. In fact, the call for a “day of rage” prior to the two recent attacks came via the official Hamas Twitter accounts.
Most are shocked to learn that Hamas is allowed to use Twitter to advance their deadly agenda. After all, Hamas is a recognized terrorist entity in many jurisdictions, including Canada, the United States, the European Union, and Israel. And, quite rightly, other terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, have been booted off the fourth-largest social media platform in the world.
But, when it comes to Hamas, Twitter has refused to act. This is somewhat confusing, considering the company’s own rules were updated in December to explicitly reference promotion of terrorism as unwelcome on the platform.
If Hamas’ status as a terrorist entity isn’t enough to be banned, surely their use of the platform to incite violence should be. But, despite more than two million impressions of the #GetHamasOffTwitter hashtag, Twitter has remained silent.
So, what’s to be done about this deadly problem? Well, experience has taught us that Twitter responds to public pressure. They’re quick to shut down hate speech when it goes viral – because they know it reflects poorly on them: following intervention from concerned citizens, the company stepped up to purge more than 300,000 accounts that supported the Islamic State.
We must keep up the pressure. You can join thousands of concerned members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community and do two things right now:
1. Add your name to a letter to Twitter at cija.ca/HamasTwitter
2. Tweet using the #GetHamasOffTwitter hashtag.
Last week, the ongoing scandal of anti-Semitism within the British Labor party came to a head amid reports that in 2012 the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had defended a grotesque anti-Semitic mural. Corbyn duly sent to British Jewish leaders a letter disavowing anti-Semitism, but many members of his party flocked to his defense; they included one former parliamentarian who claimed on Twitter that the “Jewish leaders ganging up on Corbyn” were concerned not about anti-Semitism but about legitimate “criticism of Israel.” Howard Jacobson comments:
In his brief tweet [this former member of Parliament] managed to pack in accusations of Jewish conspiracy, intimidation, bad faith, duplicity, self-pity, and self-interest, just to draw the line there. The monotonous and insulting libel, that all that drives complaints of anti-Semitism is the desire to silence criticism of Israel, has been the left’s get-out-of-jail-free card for years and explains Corbyn’s apparent disdain whenever the charge of anti-Semitism in his party is leveled. The charge itself, in the reasoning of the left, is crooked.
As for the claim made by Corbyn’s supporters that he doesn’t have an anti-Semitic bone in his body, that is neither here nor there if he doesn’t believe that anti-Semitism, as a recognizable racism, exists. Only witness the difficulty he has always experienced just saying “anti-Semitism.” In the parlance of the left, the assertion “I am not a racist” does not mean “I am not an anti-Semite.” . . .
[T]his latest affair of the mural is another ball game [from those that preceded it]. Here, without the distractions of Zionism, is the old, naked Jew-hating thing. The mural which Corbyn went out of his way to champion in 2012—visiting the artist’s Facebook page and offering his support against the local council’s decision to remove it—shows a conspiracy of financiers, most of them undisguisedly Jewish in the mode once favored by the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, playing a pitiless game of Monopoly on a board supported by the naked backs of the world’s oppressed.
On a second look, years later, Corbyn accepts its anti-Semitic intent. But he still reverts to his trusted “inadvertence defense.” He hadn’t “looked closely” at the image. . . . Never mind looking closely: to throw the most perfunctory glance at this mural is to be struck by the familiarity of its caricature of Jews conspiring to defraud and exploit.
David Collier: The Jewish community and Jeremy Corbyn are incompatible
Justin Cohen from Jewish News has just done the Jewish community an enormous favour. He has created a piece for the historical record. A detailed and to-the-point interview with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the midst of a crisis over antisemitism. All we needed to know about the man who wants to be Prime Minister is there for us to read. The conclusion is clear and inescapable. Our community and Jeremy Corbyn are incompatible. Jewish people in the United Kingdom need to fear Jeremy Corbyn ever receiving the keys to 10 Downing Street.
The nice Mr. Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn thinks he is saying all the right things. He speaks of anti-racism and of his willingness to fight antisemitism. Corbyn says he wants to meet with the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies. He suggests he will improve the process investigating accusations of antisemitism against members. Corbyn speaks of a ‘two-state’ solution to the Middle East Peace Process. Jeremy Corbyn also says he regrets mistakes that he has made along the way and that he is concerned Labour MPs who supported the antisemitism rally last week have been abused. Jeremy Corbyn says a lot, and yet says nothing at all. To those who may be comforted by empty platitudes, perhaps he even hit the right notes a few times. Yet to those who understand the contradictions and the blatant insults, the interview would have been extremely worrying.
Hating a Jew for what he isn’t
As I have often pointed out, definitions of antisemitism built around ‘a hatred of Jews for what they are’ have it catastrophically wrong. Antisemitism is all in the *false* charges raised against Jews, or ‘hating Jews for what they are not’. God-killers, child-killers, global political controllers, carriers of genetic impurities, shysters and blood-suckers. Classic Christian antisemites did not hate the Jews because they went to Synagogue or fasted on Yom Kippur, they hated them because they stood falsely accused of deicide. Antisemitism is carried into the mainstream in the veins of falsehoods.
This is why it is almost impossible today to distinguish anti-Zionism from antisemitism. Read almost any anti-Israel propaganda site and it is instantly obvious that it is promoting racism and bigotry. Spreading through society today are untold falsehoods about how Jewish people behave in Israel.
Britain’s Shadow Home Secretary has dismissed allegations of widespread anti-Semitism as a “smear campaign” against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.
Diane Abbott sparked anger after comments were leaked from a meeting with her shadow Home Office team in which she “ranted” about Corbyn being the victim of a systematic campaign to bring him down. The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies on Monday organized a protest in front of parliament to flag anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
One source said: “Diane could not have made her feelings any clearer on how she believed anti-Semitism was being used as a smear on Jeremy in the meeting. The most surprising thing was that she was surprised people who were in the team meeting spoke about them afterwards.” He added: “A few people were angry with how she spoke in the meeting.”
Abbott reportedly dismissed charges of anti-Semitism as a “smear campaign against Jeremy” on at least two separate occasions this week.
If Labour were elected to govern, Abbott would serve in Corbyn’s cabinet as Home Secretary, a position which would put her in charge of hate crime, including anti-Semitism.
A Times/YouGov poll at the weekend found that nearly eight out of ten Labour members believe that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party in the last fortnight are being exaggerated to damage Jeremy Corbyn and prevent criticism of Israel.
So, it seems an opportune time to share Andrew Neil’s helpful explainer on what anti-Semitism is and where it leads, from This Week:
‘An evil demon we thought had been slain – anti-Semitism – pollutes society on both sides of the channel once more. I was told today that polls and focus groups show that many Brits, not just the young, don’t know what anti-Semitism is.
Well, gather round. Mireille Knoll was 85 in a wheelchair suffering from Parkinsons, she’d survived the holocaust. But not an attack last Friday in her Paris council flat. Stabbed eleven times and burnt to death because she was Jewish. That dear viewer is anti-Semitism at its deadliest and most depraved which is how it always ends up and which is why it can’t be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves… fast.’
“That, dear viewer, is anti-Semitism. At its deadliest and most depraved. Which is how it always ends up. Which is why it can’t be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves. Fast.” @afneil opening #bbctw pic.twitter.com/MFi7pYorkB
— BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) March 29, 2018
In 2010, Mr Habeeb was recorded telling Leeds University’s student paper that the mainstream media is ‘certainly pro-Israeli’, adding: ‘I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.’
In a follow-up piece titled ‘How many antisemitic themes can you fit into one website?’, CST wrote that Mr Habeeb’s reply ‘hints at the well-known canard about Jewish or Zionist media control, which has been a staple of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists for over a century’.
CST also accused the journal Mr Habeeb formerly edited of posting an anti-Semitic cartoon featuring a devil-like monster walking over skulls while carrying a seven-pointed staff resembling a menorah.
The organisation also focuses on an article published by The Palestine Telegraph in which the author, Gilad Atzmon, defends a woman who called for Israeli Jews to ‘go home to Poland, Germany, America and elsewhere’.
Mr Atzmon goes on to say the suggestion is ‘the most reasonable and ethical’ solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, referring to the author’s impatience with ‘Jewish power and Israeli barbarism’.
The paper was also criticised for publishing an article which claimed the First and Second World Wars were planned ‘for the sake of a group following the dictates of Zionism’.
Gross accusations from 2010 published by Sameh Habeeb in Palestine Telegraph of IDF organ harvesting in Haiti greedily swallowed by Lib Dem Tonge. Why is Habeeb a Labour Party council candidate? https://t.co/tFGuQqSIfL
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) April 2, 2018
March saw a variety of BDS efforts on campus, some timed to coincide with “Apartheid Week” and the Easter-Passover season. At the same time, BDS-inspired antisemitism crises occurred at several institutions. Tolerance for antisemitism is paradoxically linked to campus attitudes, with students increasingly devoted to “diversity” but opposed to free speech; and to politics, where Jews are defined as powerful and thus incapable of being discriminated against. Antisemitism is thus being normalized under the rubric of “diversity,” a dangerous trend that will likely get worse.
March was an exceedingly active but mixed month for BDS on campus. In a revival of an older tactic, students voted on BDS resolutions in campus-wide referenda along with other issues. One BDS resolution at the University of Minnesota passed by a narrow margin. It called on the university to divest from companies, including Israeli firms, which it claimed were “1) complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, 2) maintaining and establishing private prisons and immigrant detention centers, or 3) violating Indigenous sovereignty.”
The allegation of Israeli “indigenous rights violations” is relatively new and is a typical example of the BDS movement capitalizing on other causes, as was the call for the university to abolish its police force. Both before and after the vote the university president issued statements warning against the referendum and declaring the university had no intention of divesting from Israel. Complaints also emerged regarding the late introduction of the referendum via petition.
A BDS resolution was also adopted by a referendum at Trinity College in Dublin. The resolution calls on the student union to comply with the principles of BDS in all “union shops, trade, business, and other union operations” and requires it to lobby the university on behalf of BDS. The tiny numbers of Jewish and Israeli students at the college, plus traditional Irish antipathy towards Israel, contributed to the results.
After strong opposition from the administration and faculty, a BDS resolution was rejected at the University of Illinois. The student government at the University of Ottawa also rejected a BDS resolution for the third time in five months. The university president also condemned the resolution, and reiterated that the university would not engage in any Israel boycott.
Arutz Sheva spoke with Legal Grounds (Basis Huki) Co-Chair Jeff Daube about the organization’s new program offering free legal courses to young lawyers.
Legal Grounds is an organization dedicated to countering the propaganda claiming that Israel has no legal right to Judea and Samaria, as well as the fact that most lawyers are not well-versed enough in international law to know the truth.
“International law is really on our side. And by our side, I mean on our Zionist side,” Daube said. “Because if you take a look at it from our perspective, our interpretation of international law is that we have a right, Israel has a right, to live and to build in Judea and Samaria. Plain and simple. Full stop.”
To solve the issue of left-leaning legal bias, Legal Grounds offers an innovative solution: Free courses for lawyers and students of international affairs, covering the legal basis for Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria.
“We saw that there was a problem, that many of the law students, many of the attorneys, were not getting access to the material that shows that the Zionist approach to our presence in Judea and Samaria is perfectly justified,” he explained. “So what we did was we opened up a law course with the help of Regavim and Ha’adam Veha’adama to provide these law students, from Hebrew University, from Tel Aviv University, from the University of Haifa, and other colleges, to acquire that knowledge. Because really, knowledge is power.”
“What we noticed was that there were organizations from the left side of the political spectrum, like Yesh Din, like the Geneva Initiative, that were offering these workshops, that were offering these courses with their perspective…meaning that they considered our presence in Judea and Samaria as…an occupation.
Mississippi’s Senate passed a law that allows the state treasury to invest in Israel Bonds.
The state’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Bryant reportedly has visited Israel several times.
The state treasury will be permitted to invest up to $20 million of excess general funds in the bonds. Previously the treasury could only invest excess funds into state banks or the U.S. Treasury.
When a member of my organization’s legal network (the International Legal Forum) recently reported that a 2018 Belgian school textbook includes a caricature bluntly vilifying Jews, I could scarcely believe it.
The geography textbook, meant for 15-year-old students and approved by the Belgian Education Ministry, shows an overweight Jew asleep in a bathtub, next to an impoverished elderly Palestinian with an empty bucket, in a chapter dealing with the topic of water distribution between Israelis and Palestinians.
The cartoon reads: “Amnesty International: Israel is denying Palestinians access to adequate water… while settlers enjoy lush lawns and swimming pools!” Amnesty International, a human rights organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and a United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, seems to find no discrepancy between its professed defense of human dignity and its blunt vilification of Jews.
Antisemitism, it seems, has in recent years not only permeated European society but is also getting backed up by organizations that hypocritically claim to campaign for human rights.
As classic antisemitism became less fashionable across Europe, organizations like Amnesty International, which has a special consultative status at the UN, seem to have found a back door for the continual infusion of Jew hatred into the collective European psyche. Instead of targeting Jews as Jews, the antisemitism we find today largely aims to legitimize and increase acceptance of antisemitic notions by hiding under the facade of legitimate criticism of the State of Israel and Zionism.
Last week was Passover, so the ABC decided to interview this bloke … Host David Rutledge speaking on RN Breakfast, Good Friday:
Dr Stephen Sizer: former Anglican vicar, conservative evangelical and, depending to who you ask, thoughtful and sympathetic friend to the Jewish people or dangerous anti-Semite.
Sizer is known best in his home country for a very controversial Facebook post. BBC News website, January 30, 2015:
The Church of England is investigating a vicar accused of posting an article on Facebook blaming Israel for the 9/11 attacks in the US…
Jewish leaders have accused an Anglican Vicar from Surrey of supporting an “anti-Semitic hate-fest” by speaking at a conference in Iran at which claims of “Zionist” involvement in 9/11 were aired.
Sizer’s not sorry for that one. The ex-vicar on RN Breakfast, Friday:
I’ve been to Iran several times … none of the speakers were criticised for being anti-Semitic.
The conference wasn’t criticised for promoting hatred towards Jews? Jerusalem Post, October 21, 2014:
Iranian-run Press TV has described the conference as intending to “unveil the secrets behind the dominance of the Zionist lobby over the US and EU politics”, with one session devoted to examining “Mossad’s role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat”, and another discussing “9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist ‘Public myths’ ”.
Just the person the ABC would turn to for Passover. More at the link.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera declared that he regrets not backing the Palestinians during their Second Intifada against Israel.
Rivera was interviewed on Friday on Fox News’s The Five about his memoir, The Geraldo Show, slated for release on Tuesday. He was asked if there was any news story that he regretted doing.
I regret in 2002 backing down from backing the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. The Second Intifada. Because I saw with my own eyes how. And I know how this is going to resonate very poorly with the people watching right now. But still, I have to tell you how I feel. I saw at firsthand how those people were. And now you said 14, 15 people killed in Gaza. Palestinians killed by the IDF forces. I saw what an awful life they live under constant occupation and oppression.
And people keep saying, “Oh, they are terrorists. Or they are this or they are that.” They are an occupied people and I regret chickening out after 2002 and not staying on that story and adding my voice as a Jew, adding my voice to those counseling a two-state solution. It is so easy to put them out of sight, out of mind. And let them rot. And be killed. And keep this thing festering. And I think a lot of our current problems stem from – that’s almost our original sin. Palestine and Israel. I want a two-state solution. I want President Trump to re-energize the peace process.
Potentially Millions of C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) viewers were subjected to a live broadcast of a one-day conference titled, “The Israel Lobby and American Policy,” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Ostensibly aiming to analyze the role that the “Israel lobby” plays in the U.S.-Israel relationship and determine if it is positive or negative for both countries, the conference provided only anti-Israel speakers who slammed Israel and its supporters particularly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christian Zionists. Included was a swipe at Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
The March 2 event hosted by Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) and American Educational Trust (AET), opened with this remark: “We would like to welcome you all to today’s conference. Once again the conference is convening on the eve of the annual AIPAC convention where a bipartisan group of Congressmen and officials will gather to reaffirm their unwavering support for the state of Israel.” (AET’s Dale Sprusansky).
Thus, the conference was scheduled slightly ahead of the AIPAC conference (held on the following Monday, March 5), aiming to discredit it and supporters of Israel. The IRmep/AET event was re-broadcast on March 5. C-SPAN’s online blurb promoting the event, claims that it provides “a broad overview of the U.S. and international response to the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the role of special interest groups. They also provided historical and legal context to argue how the Israel lobby influences Middle East policy.”
Grant Smith, Director of IRmep, set the tone for the speakers to come in his conference-opening monologue exaggerating the influence of supporters of Israel (“Israel lobby”) and falsely claiming that such influence victimizes voters:
One of Argentina’s most popular soccer clubs is hosting an exhibition of harrowing stories about the sport from the Holocaust era.
“It Wasn’t a Game” (or “No Fue un Juego”) opened last week at the River Plate museum in the team’s stadium building complex here, and will remain on view through May 15, a month before the start of the World Cup, soccer’s premier international tournament. The curators have split the exhibit into 11 parts — one for each player on the field at one time for each team.
In an exhibit produced by the Buenos Aires Shoah Museum, panels tell the stories of teams and individuals throughout the museum, which receives some 25,000 visitors each month.
One is about Emerico Hirschl, a Hungarian Jewish coach who led River Plate to multiple national and international championships in the 1930s. Hirschl also was instrumental in helping Jews who did not have visas gain asylum in Buenos Aires at the time, despite the prohibitions of the Argentine government. Using his popularity, the coach convinced guards to allow people to enter the city’s ports.
His daughter, Gabriela Hirschl, told JTA at the exhibit’s inauguration that one of the Jews he saved later became his girlfriend, then his wife — and eventually Gabriela’s mother.
There are also the stories of European teams that suffered under the Nazis and were forced to rebuild after the war, such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Ajax in Holland and Austria Wien in Vienna. Some notable examples: Bayern Munich’s president, Kurt Landauer, and coach, Richard Kohn, were forced to resign because they were Jewish. And an Ajax player, Eddy Hammel, helped the club win multiple championships before he was deported to Auschwitz in 1943.
The Israeli judo delegation racked up one gold and two bronze medals at the Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia Sunday, ahead of next month’s European Judo Championships, to be held in Tel Aviv.
On the men’s team, Peter Paltchik won the gold medal, while Li Kochman won the bronze medal on the last day of the tournament. Timna Nelson Levy earned a bronze medal for the women’s team on the first day of the tournament.
Competing in the under-100-kilogram weight class, Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medalist Paltchik defeated Russian newcomer Merab Margiev to win the tournament.
After losing to Greek Theodoros Tselidis, Kochman won his match against Switzerland’s Cyril Grossklaus in the under-90-kilogram weight class.
On the first day of the tournament, Nelson Levy defeated Italy’s Martina Lo Giudice in the under-57-kilogram weight class.
Google – which can hire the cream of the crop from anywhere in the world – has picked Tel Aviv to be the site of a new accelerator that will assist start-ups that specialize in machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science.
The accelerator began operating in the beginning of March as part of Google’s Launchpad startup program. It’s the first time Google has taken its machine-learning program outside the United States.
“Ask yourself, how can Google take its first steps in Israel?” asked Roy Glasberg, founder and general manager of the Google Global Acceleration programs and the Google AI Studio. “Silicon Valley is the leading, most mature tech ecosystem in the world. But after five years of traveling the world, I came back to Israel, which is our best sandbox for experimentation.”
Glasberg met at Google’s sprawling tech campus near the Tel Aviv Hashalom railway station, along with Nir Chinsky, head of Google Cloud MEA & CEE, which is responsible for business strategy and growth across East and Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Both raved about the accelerator program as they showed off their skyscraper office suite.
Almost every major tech company in the world has expressed interest in opening a start-up accelerator in Israel, from Microsoft to Facebook to Amazon.
IsraellyCool: Christian Arab Border Policeman Proposes To Girlfriend
Today seems to be a particularly dusty day…got some in my eyes in fact.
In other news, we have Arabs serving in the IDF. #Sorrynotsorry to break the news to the haters. (h/t Yerushalimey)
Tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims made their way to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday for a twice-annual mass blessing ceremony, held under heavy police guard.
The blessing was recited twice on Monday morning, one of the intermediate days of the Passover festival, with crowds of men and women spilling out from the Wall’s plaza to surrounding areas.
The ceremony, which sees male descendants of the Kohanim priestly caste gather to bestow a benediction, involves the raising of hands to perform the blessing, with those conducting the blessing wrapped in prayer shawls.
The Western Wall is the closest spot to the Temple Mount where Jews can pray. Though they may visit the Mount, where the two ancient Jewish temples stood, Jews are not allowed to pray at the holy site, which is overseen by a Jordanian custodian.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, himself of the priestly caste, was one of the hundreds who gave the blessing.
The citadel walls of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City were illuminated with a spectacular projected light show on Sunday, with animations bringing to life the story of King David.
Animated figures, artwork and text danced across the walls as the show told the story of the biblical hero, famous for slaying Goliath with a single stone from his slingshot.
The 7.5 million shekel ($2.1 million) multimedia production is powered by 18 high-definition laser projectors that light up the citadel with 250,000 lumens and 35,000,000 pixels, 20 speakers and 10 kilometers (6 miles) of cables.
Show “nothing less than spectacular,” audience says
System designer Eli Geffen said the installation was the largest of its kind in the world.
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