With flags unfurled, jets overhead, and grills galore, Israel marks 71 years
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis were flocking to beaches and parks, lighting grills, waving flags and craning their necks for a glimpse of Israel’s fighter jets to mark the country’s 71th Independence Day on Thursday.
After a night of fireworks, concerts, parties and an emotional crossover from Memorial Day to Independence Day, most Israelis were spending the day, a national holiday, celebrating the country’s birthday.
Celebrations in Jerusalem kicked off Thursday morning at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem where President Reuven Rivlin hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF chief Aviv Kohavi and others for a musical ceremony honoring 120 soldiers receiving commendations for excellence.
Speaking to the soldiers, Rivlin said that for Israelis, “everything that is a challenge becomes an opportunity for us.”
The annual international Bible Quiz competition finals took place after the ceremony in Jerusalem and saw Israeli teenager Yonatan Weissman, a Jerusalem native, win the top prize. He beat out American candidate Benjamin Colchamiro of New Jersey’s Kushner yeshiva high school.
The IDF also opened its bases to the public, displaying jeeps, tanks and other equipment throughout the country.
On Wednesday night, the mournful and somber speeches of Memorial Day gave way to joyful celebrations as Independence Day officially started.
The juxtaposition of the two days is a key element of Israelis’ experience of national independence, ensuring that no commemoration completely excludes the achievement wrought by the sacrifice of the fallen and their families, and that the elation of independence is never far removed from an awareness of its cost.
The story of the Jewish people is one of “against all odds,” said Israel’s Knesset speaker at the official torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Wednesday to mark the country’s 71st Independence Day.
Noting that many other peoples were larger and more powerful, Yuli Edelstein asked, “What do we have? We have a story.”
“A story of a slave people who were liberated and became free men, and brought to the whole world a new hope of freedom, a new message of peace, and a new destiny of justice,” he said.
“And though this nation was scattered all over the world,” he continued, “it gathered into one small, magnificent land, and swore that its children would grow up on this land, and that its dreams would be fulfilled on this land.”
“This is our story,” Edelstein said. “A rebellious, striving, daring, insolent people, which has one motto: ‘Against all odds.’ They struck us — and we rose again. They preyed upon us — and we went on. They exiled us — and, against all odds, we always returned to our homeland.”
In a video message, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke of Israel’s historic accomplishments, saying, “We have achieved something that no other people has achieved. We are the only people who live in the same land, with the same name, speak the same language, and have the same faith as we had 3,000 years ago.”
“Yes, we still have antisemitism; yes, we still have those who slander us,” he said, “but more and more people around the world see the truth about our achievement, about our freedom, about our hope.”
It’s often the most regular folks who find themselves at the crossroads of history, and that is true as well of those who lent their assistance in minor or major ways to the establishment of the State of Israel.
That is the theme behind Toldot Yisrael, a nonprofit project that is interviewing hundreds of people, many of them now elderly, all of whom were part of the effort to create the Israeli nation.
The organization is releasing 20 videos made from footage of interviews with American Jews for Israel’s 71st Independence Day Wednesday night.
The 150 Americans interviewed include World War II veterans; industrialists who bankrolled the purchase of ships; the grandson of Rabbi Shalom Zvi Davidowitz, who helped write Israel’s Declaration of Independence; even Norman Lamm, the former chancellor of Yeshiva University who was a chemistry student in 1948 and volunteered to help develop the bombs for the Davidka mortar that was used in battle.
The fourth day of the Hebrew month of Iyyar, and Israel is celebrating its 71st year. It sounds official in 2018, right? But that’s just it, it’s not. Every year, every Independence Day, brings new wonder, something uniquely Israeli. Members of my generation, who were born into the reality of a sovereign Israel, are still moved every time: how was our generation privileged to fulfill the dream of our forefathers, the founders of the state, the dream of the return to Zion – “we were like those who dream.” Why us? Wondering why assumes that our generation is better than the ones before us, because we managed to bring about what our predecessors could not. That’s a mistake.
The state of Israel is the fruit of the work of many generations. One after another passed to the next the baton of the dream and the vision. It was a mission, both personal and collective. Judaism and Zionism have been running a relay race for thousands of years. An eternal initiative. My god, may it never end. Maybe herein lies the secret of our success: this is an initiative that is constantly in the making. At age 71, despite its success, the Zionist enterprise is still in its infancy. The country is still waiting for new residents, new immigrants, new babies, and new challenges. Like it was on its first Independence Day. Even 100 years from now, our great-grandchildren will still be thrilled when Israel marks its 171st anniversary. That is how it is on Israel’s Independence Day. From “we were like those who dream” we have become a people who live the dream; from the poem by Bialik to the guy who fixes the barbecue grill, we are still searching for the right balance.
The wonderful idea of the state of Israel contains an inherent contradiction: on one hand, the land has always been promised to us; on the other, at age 71 we are still a people in denial. This contradiction between the dream and the reality began in the time of our patriarch Abraham, the founder of the Israelite nation, who when the great promises made to him prompted him to leave everything and go into the land of Israel, was forced to exert all his strength to buy a grave for his wife at an exorbitant price. The stubborn opposition of various nations throughout history to recognize our people’s national and religious idea – establishing an independent state of our own – help makes Independence Day such a delicious holiday. Think for a moment how Titus would respond to the nation-state law.
“Israel is an international model for innovation,” says the president of the Israel Manufacturers Association of Israel, Shraga Brosh.
According to new figures, in 1936, prior to independence, the number of industrial companies in Israel stood at 1,500 and employed some 28,000 people.
In 1948, there were 2,500 industrial companies. In 1952 98,000 people were working in industry, and by 1965 that number had jumped to 223,000. In 2017, there were about 13,500 industrial companies in Israel, which employed 378,641 workers.
In 1948, Israeli industrial exports totaled $18 million. In 1980, that number had risen to $5 billion, and in 2000 industrial exports surpassed $30 billion. In 2018, they totaled more than $60 billion.
In contrast to the industrial sector, Israeli banking has not seen the same growth. The five groups that control banking were all founded before the state itself. Bank Hapoalim was established in 1921 as the bank of the Histadrut Labor Federation; Bank Leumi was established at the Zionist Congress of 1902 followed a decision by Theodor Herzl; Discount was founded in 1935; and Mizrahi-Tfahot in 1923. The only bank of the five that was established after the state is the First International Bank of Israel.
In the same period – 1948-2018 – Israel’s gross domestic product has grown by a factor of 12, from 10,000 shekels ($2,800) per capita in the 1950s to some 120,000 shekels ($33,500) per capita today.
Google is celebrating Israeli independence alongside the Jewish state. On May 9, the search giant changed its homepage Doodle to an Israeli flag. When clicked, it links to news and events taking place throughout the country.
The Doodle came as a bit of a surprise, after last week, the company ignored Holocaust Memorial Day.
The mayor of Ramat Gan, Carmel Shama Hacohen, last week sent a letter to Google Israel asking for the addition of a Doodle to commemorate the solemn day.
“Google makes sure to commemorate far less important occasions, so it is only expected that Google would lower its ‘virtual flag’ to half-mast and put a picture of a candle in memory of six million Jews,” Hacohen wrote.
Happy Independence Day, Israel! 💙 🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/MdUVV5ukO1
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 8, 2019
A beautiful moment caught on camera (sound on 🔊):
Israeli soldiers spontaneously break out in song bringing hundreds of grievers together in unity just after Israel’s national memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers came to an end. pic.twitter.com/GZs0ZSFDzu
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 8, 2019
The hope that has accompanied a nation.
Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem, as you’ve never heard it before. pic.twitter.com/6su6qsgwZw
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 9, 2019
🇮🇱Today we celebrate Israel’s 71st Independence Day, and there really is so, so much to celebrate.
— Mark Regev (@MarkRegev) May 8, 2019
When iRobots do the official #YomHaAtzmaut ceremony…
— (((Emily Schrader))) (@GippersChutzpah) May 9, 2019
Victor Davis Hanson: Why Progressive Anti-Semitism — and Why Now?
It has been noted that the Times has had a long history of anti-Semitism, dating to before World War II, and, after that, of serial anti-Israel venom. Certainly, if the cartoon had similarly portrayed any other ethnic or religious group (except heterosexual white Christians), the Times would immediately have fired anyone remotely involved in running such trash. Was it any surprise that the Times recently referenced Jesus as a Palestinian rather than Jewish?
The Times in general sees bias such as anti-Semitism and racism in terms of political warfare: The hatred is always a cry of the heart of marginalized people, and always directed at the supposedly deserving. Note that not long ago the Times vigorously defended its hiring of Sarah Jeong, the racist blogger who had a long history of anti-male and anti-white hate speech that included such social-media posts as “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men” and “Dumbass f****** white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants” and “White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. That was my plan all along.” In other words, the Times seems to have no innate problem with its progressive employees expressing racist and anti-Semitic tropes, as long as their targets are deemed politically incorrect.
Recently at UC Berkeley, in a now familiar routine, during a student-government meeting, protesters slurred Jewish students with conspiratorial charges that the Israeli military has trained American police how better to kill blacks. Campuses now routinely ignore student anti-Semitic smears; indeed, universities and colleges are becoming the incubators of progressive hatred of Jews.
The strange thing about the now predictable anti-Jewish and anti-Israel social-media outbursts of Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) was not that Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) defended Omar’s slurs. (Tlaib herself recently demanded cutting off aid to Israel, claiming it did not reflect American values.) Rather, what’s striking is that the Democratic party in general could not even muster a vote condemning the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements of one of their own House members.
The examples of progressive hatred of Jews could be multiplied endlessly, but the key question is: Why in this generation and why on the Democratic left?
For many decades, virulently antisemitic forms of ‘anti-Zionism’ were central to the cold war propaganda of the Communist states. In this powerful essay Izabella Tabarovsky not only lays bare the entire shameful story of Soviet Judeophobia but shows us that, to quote William Faulkner, ‘the past is not dead, it is not even past’.
In 1985, the KGB-supervised Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, known by its Russian acronym as AKSO, issued a brochure, Criminal Alliance of Zionism and Nazism.[i] The brochure reported on a press conference that the Committee had held some months earlier. The site for the press conference, the press center of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicated the official blessing of the messages AKSO had to deliver. The brochure was translated into English and distributed abroad by Novosti Press Agency, a news service and an important arm of Soviet foreign propaganda.
A propagandistic document reporting on a propagandistic event, the brochure painted a harrowing picture of Zionism. Senior members of the AKSO, most of whom were prominent Soviet Jews (an intentional choice on the part of the KGB, meant to deflect accusations of antisemitism) claimed that they had irrefutable proof of Zionist co-operation with the Nazis. They described Zionists as facilitators of Nazi expansionism, accused them of falsely inflating the significance of antisemitism and Jewish victimhood in World War II, and claimed that the 1930s agreement that permitted the transfer of 60,000 German Jews to Palestine had made it ‘easier for the Nazis to unleash World War II.’ They claimed that Zionists had colluded ‘in the genocide against the “Slavs, Jews and some other peoples of Europe”.’ Speakers concluded by rejecting, in advance, any attempts by ‘pro-Zionist press’ to represent the committee’s assertions as antisemitic; disassociated Zionists from Jews; and promised that Zionism would never succeed in repudiating the ‘historical reality’ of cooperation between the Zionists and the Nazis.
The brochure might have read as a shocking smear that distorted history had it not been an integral part of a massive Soviet anti-Zionist campaign that entered a particularly active stage in 1967. Its language reflects its epoch – one marked by Cold War tensions, propagandistic jargon that permeated all aspects of Soviet public life, and virulent demonisation of Israel and Zionism. Alleged Zionist-Nazi collaboration and false equivalence between the two were among the campaign’s centerpieces.
On May 6, 2019, Muslim American Society Executive Director Ayman Hammous called the video “disturbing” and blamed a “vetting” problem within his Philadelphia Chapter. He also now admits that he may have a problem with the entire leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter.
Yet we have seen this identical set of facts a thousand times before, right down to the director’s contrition. The problem is that some meaningful percentage of Hammous’ organization and its membership are apologetic not for the jihadi performance. They are apologetic for getting caught.
The Philadelphia Islamic center incident must be considered side by side with the April 27 Poway, California synagogue shooting in understanding the growing and rapidly evolving threat to the American Jewish community. I cannot underestimate the hardship, suffering, violence and possibly murder that our children we will face 20 years hence here in the U.S. We must stop Old World jihadis from passing on to innocent American children Jew-hatred and violence. If we fail, it will be at our peril.
Unlike Gaza, we have recourse and options in the U.S. to fight the poisoning and indoctrinating of Muslim youth. Recent immigrants and naturalized Americans who import and seek to transfer jihadi violence must be dealt with swiftly and severely.
MAS, meanwhile, is acting like it has something to hide. Not only did it take down the Ummah Day video, but it took down all MAS Leaders Academy videos, including a graduation ceremony. The entire MAS-Philadelphia Facebook page was down on Wednesday.
As we noted on Monday, pro-jihad rhetoric — especially involving Palestinians — has been repeatedly invoked by MAS officials and speakers at its conferences. Past president Esam Omeish praised “our Brothers and Sisters in [Palestine]” during a 2000 speech, because “you have known that the Jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”
This came during the height of the Second Intifada, which was dominated by a wave of suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.
Years later, MAS hosted radical Egyptian cleric Ragheb Elsergany at its annual conference co-organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) after Elsergany told a previous conference that it is a duty “for all Muslims to liberate all of Palestine from the North to the South, from Al Quds to the sea, it’s a duty for all Muslims to liberate one complete full land of Palestine. It’s not just about liberating Al Quds. It’s all occupied!”
This history becomes even more relevant when MAS seems to be actively misleading the public about MAS Leaders Academy being “a separate entity.”
MAS leaders need to do more than condemn the Birds of Paradise song performed by school children at the Ummah Day event. They should restore all the videos to determine whether this really was a failure by one staffer, whom they claim was fired.
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 8, 2019
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 8, 2019
The Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has condemned one of its own former officials after Middle East Forum research revealed his vile antisemitic views.
Abubakar Osman (aka Sadiqq Abu Osman), formerly CAIR-Minnesota’s Government Affairs Coordinator, wrote on Facebook in 2008: “i wish hitler was alive to fuck up the jewish ppl and add more jewish causalities to the 6 million he killed in the holocaust…”
In response, CAIR-Minnesota published a statement on its Facebook page: “we condemn these hateful and hurtful words in the strongest terms possible.” It promises to “move forward today even more committed to fighting anti-Semitism in all of its forms, no matter the source.”
Sam Westrop, director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch project, notes: “While CAIR-Minnesota’s denouncing its former official is welcome, why has it not also condemned its board member Abdul Basit, who has written that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “plots” against Senator Bernie Sanders because she is Jewish.
At today’s European Election launch, Jeremy Corbyn criticised people who perpetuate conspiracy theories, and vowed that Labour would lead on tackling antisemitism. He even claimed that “Nigel Farage’s Brexit is a Brexit for conspiracy theorists”…
Labour’s new European Election manifesto even says that they will “lead the fight to tackle all forms of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia”. But Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly helped spread antisemitic conspiracy theories. He personally…
- Wrote the foreword to a book which argued that banks and the press were controlled by Jews
- Invited antisemitic conspiracy theorist Sheikh Raed Salah who claimed Israel was behind 9/11 to Parliament
- Called a blood libel preacher, an ‘honoured citizen’
- Defended a clearly anti-Semitic mural, later claiming he didn’t see it
- Confirmed he believes that Israeli lobby has an ‘effect on the political actions the British Government is taking’
- Compared Israel to ISIS
- Promoted a conspiracy theory that Israel could create a “false flag event” to start a war with Iran
- Claimed Israel has unbelievably high levels of influence’ over the media
- Blamed the ‘Israel Lobby’ for the deportation of a blood libel cleric
- Suspected that Israel was behind a terrorist attack in Egypt ”I suspect the hand of Israel in this”
A large swastika was painted Wednesday on a London fish factory owned by a pro-Brexit Jewish politician.
Lance Forman reported the vandalism at H. Forman & Son, a century-old salmon smoking company and restaurant in the eastern part of the city, to police, The Guardian reported. There are no suspects.
Forman’s business, near the Olympic Park, is the United Kingdom’s oldest salmon curer and was set up by his great-grandfather in 1905.
Earlier this year, Forman became a founder of the Brexit Party, which is running for elections in the European Parliament this month.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned the incident.
“Awful to see that a Jewish political candidate has had a swastika painted at his workplace,” a board spokesperson wrote on Twitter.
“This kind of hatred and extremism have no place in politics or our society. We hope that the culprit is brought to justice.”
What do the Jewish voice for Labour know about antisemitism ?? @AmandaWells247 pic.twitter.com/We5sFeaylN
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) May 9, 2019
SPME deplores the recent Faculty Council of DePaul University’s vote to censure an article by Prof. Jason Hill, advocating the Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Regardless of how one feels about Hill’s extreme policy recommendations, his treatment at the hands of his colleagues was at once deeply unfair, counterproductive, and anti-intellectual. The censure, despite its insistence on respecting academic freedom, surrendered to demands of the public-shaming squads that increasingly dominate campus politics, especially when it concerns discussion of Israel and the Palestinians. Far from a blow for academic freedom and decency, this Faculty-Council initiative represents one more brick in a cognitive edifice that systematically excludes a wide range of both opinion and fact by branding it hate speech, or merely “views not representative of the [U of Cambridge] student body… not a valuable contribution to the University.” Worse, the move was done at the demand of student groups who practice some of the most virulent hate speech, and advocate for groups who regularly deploy genocidal hate speech. For progressive forces that treasure tolerance and inclusion, this censure was a massive own-goal.
– The Abuse of Procedures in order to force the censure through. The chair of the Faculty Council, Scott Paeth, wrote and proposed the censure. Rather than therefore recusing himself, he violated the parliamentary rules to rush it through with minimal discussion. Since one of the avowed goals of the censure motion was to advance “conversations that advance social justice,” it hardly seems fitting for a democratic, academic institution to set such a poor example for how to act fairly.
– The designation of an opinion as unacceptable because it offends some people’s sensibilities. The resolution invokes AAUP Principles about “respect for the opinion of others,” and censures Hill for his “the real harm his words have caused to students and other members of our community.” The word “real” here is most problematic, since the “harm” spoken of was the hurt feelings of students who claim the article “made it difficult for Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims and other marginalized groups to feel safe on campus and freely register for classes,” and that “his comments create unsafe and uncomfortable spaces.” Anyone who treasures freedom, like the scholar, has learned to have a thick skin.
Several groups in the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) movement operating in the United States have ties to Palestinian groups on the U.S. State Department’s list of designated terrorist organizations, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.
The BDS movement aims to politically and economically isolate Israel at the international level in order to advance Palestinian political objectives.
Ties between BDS organizations operating in the U.S. and Palestinian terror groups include: BDS leaders coordinating with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), officials in BDS groups whipping up public support for terrorists, and a U.S. nonprofit reportedly facilitating tax exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes multiple terrorist organizations.
Samidoun is a pro-BDS Palestinian activist group operating internationally, including within the U.S. The group has extensive ties with the PFLP, TheDCNF’s investigation found.
The PFLP has been on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997 and its members have claimed responsibility for two different Jerusalem terror attacks in the last five years.
In June, it will be one year since 24-year-old Boston native Rebecca Rum (not her full name for security purposes) was falsely accused of being the sniper who fatally shot a 21-year-old Palestinian nurse. Today, Rum is focused on spreading the truth about Israel and the IDF.
Rum moved to Israel in 2012 and joined the army that same year. She served three years in active duty, including as a commander in the educational corps, and is now an active reservist. But one of the most transformational moments of her life was around this time last year, when Suhair Nafal from Chicago posted a photograph of Rum smiling in full uniform and holding an M16, naming Rum the murderer of 21-year-old Razan Ashraf al-Najjar, a Gazan nurse who was shot in the stomach while providing first aid to wounded demonstrators near the fence outside Khan Yunis.
The post went viral and was even shared on the “Freedom for Gaza” Facebook page, which has over 100,000 followers. There was just one problem: The photo of Rum was taken four years prior, and she was nowhere near the Gaza border fence on that fateful day.
Nafal took down the photo, writing that “it was only a comparison.” Yet, the damage was done. Rum received thousands of hate messages and even death threats.
“After what happened, I felt it was my calling to educate myself more about Israel and stand up for the country I believe in,” Rum told The Jerusalem Post. “I had been turned into a symbol of hate. I wanted to use my voice to counter that narrative.”
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 9, 2019
A dozen US rabbis from across the major denominations met Wednesday morning with the publisher and editorial page editor of The New York Times regarding the anti-Semitic cartoon it published and its general coverage of Israel.
The meeting at The Times offices in Midtown Manhattan lasted an hour and a half and was organized through the New York Board of Rabbis, an interdenominational group. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, the group’s executive vice president, said A.G. Sulzberger and James Bennet, the publisher and editorial page editor, “owned the problem” of the cartoon being anti-Semitic.
The cartoon, which was published last month in the opinion section of the paper’s international edition, depicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog on a leash leading a blind US President Donald Trump. The US leader was drawn wearing a yarmulke and Netanyahu’s collar had a Star of David.
The Times has apologized for the cartoon and published a staff editorial criticizing it. The newspaper said it has updated its “unconscious bias” training in the wake of the controversy, disciplined the editor who published the cartoon and dropped the syndication service that provided it.
“It gave everyone an opportunity to express their feelings,” Potasnik said of the meeting. “Everyone was very forthright, very frank about what they felt. … I felt it was a healthy, honest exchange, and that’s what’s necessary.”
The animated video begins with a photo of the black flags of jihad. Seconds later, it flashes highlights of a year of social media posts: plaques of anti-Semitic verses, talk of retribution and a photo of two men carrying more jihadi flags while they burn the stars and stripes.
It wasn’t produced by extremists; it was created by Facebook. In a clever bit of self-promotion, the social media giant takes a year of a user’s content and auto-generates a celebratory video. In this case, the user called himself “Abdel-Rahim Moussa, the Caliphate.”
“Thanks for being here, from Facebook” the video concludes in a cartoon bubble before flashing the company’s famous “thumbs up.”
Facebook likes to give the impression that it’s staying ahead of extremists by taking down their posts, often before users ever even see them.
But a confidential whistleblower’s complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained by The Associated Press alleges the social media company has exaggerated its success. Even worse, it shows that the company is inadvertently making use of propaganda by militant groups to auto-generate videos and pages that could be used for networking by extremists.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Twitter Apologizes For Closing Hamas Account After Mistaking It For Parody (satire)
Micro-blogging media giant Twitter announced today it had apologized and reinstated the account of the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip and engages in routine terrorism, following the erroneous suspension of that account, whose radical tone and content caused the company to suspect an impostor had attempted to caricature the group to make it appear extreme.
A spokesperson for Twitter posted a message this morning that Hamas’s English-language account could now resume its activity as before, and stated that the company regretted the error.
“Twitter makes diligent efforts to protect its users from impersonation,” the spokesperson tweeted. “Sometimes, our vigor in maintaining the authenticity of our users exceeds what is absolutely necessary, as in this case, in which we mistook the genocidal rhetoric of the account in question for an over-the-top parody of Hamas. Upon further investigation, we discovered we had shut down a legitimate account of the terrorist group, and immediately reversed the suspension. We apologize for rushing to judgment, and will review our procedures to improve the accuracy of our determinations as to which accounts are real and which impersonations.”
Hamas resumed its Twitter messaging as soon as it received word of the account’s restoration. “The Zionists have again failed to suppress the Resistance,” it stated. “We thank our friends at Twitter for listening to reason and reinstating the account.” Further tweets promised bloody retribution against the Jews and demanded immediate removal of all restrictions Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons smuggling and manufacture.
The top intelligence agency in Germany has written what is being called its most comprehensive analysis of rising anti-Semitism by Islamist extremists.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or BfV, described its 40-page brochure as a tool for educators, social workers, police and others who work closely with recent Muslim immigrants or refugees.
Titled “Anti-Semitism in Islamism,” the recently published report represents a leap forward in terms of the agency’s focus on the topic, spokeswoman Angela Pley told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a telephone interview.
She said the agency has never published such a comprehensive analysis of the subject based on empirical data.
“We are an early warning system,” Pley said. “Recommendations on what can be done must come from society and the political establishment.”
Pley said there had been no public response to the report by Muslim associations in Germany, but that it had been downloaded 1,439 times since its release.
Democratic presidential hopeful, US Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced a resolution Wednesday condemning the recent antisemitic attack at Chabad of Poway.
One woman, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, was murdered in the attack, and three others were injured. The resolution honors the memory of Kaye and expresses hope for a full recovery for the people who were injured. It also commends the first responders and law enforcement officials.
“The perpetrator of the attack, who expressed white supremacist and white nationalist sentiments, entered the synagogue shouting antisemitic slurs,” the resolution states. “Antisemitism is an age-old form of prejudice, discrimination, persecution and marginalization of Jewish people that runs counter to the values of the United States.”
The resolution also declares that hate has no place in the United States, and that “there is a duty to condemn all forms of hatred.” Harris and Feinstein added to the statement a condemnation of antisemitism, white supremacy, white nationalism and “all forms of hatred.”
It also calls to treat all people with dignity, “including Jewish, Muslim, Black, Latino, Asian American, immigrant and LGBTQ peoples.”
In a time when anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head both in the city and around the county, it’s painful when it comes from an NYPD Traffic Agent.
A motorist contacted YWN, saying he was on 57th Street and Park Avenue at 6:00PM Tuesday evening, trying to get into the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Due to traffic, the driver was unable to get out of the lane he was in, and attempted to make a turn. At that point, the Agent walked over to the vehicle, took a look at the Orthodox Jewish driver and his passenger, and told them “you can’t make a right turn, you stupid Jew”.
Stunned, the driver parked the car, and the passenger walked over to him with his camera recording and politely asked for his badge number. The Agent refused to give his badge number and instead said: “I didn’t mean what I said, and I apologized to the other gentleman”.
The victim of this anti-Semitic abuse persisted and asked for the badge number again. The Agent again said that he did not mean what he said, refused to give his badge number and walked away.
In the latest incident of a worrying trend in Brooklyn, video footage has emerged of a new assault on a Jewish individual which occurred on Tuesday.
The video footage caught by security cameras shows a hassidic Jewish man walking down the street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn when a man runs up behind him and punches him in the head, knocking off his hat and sending him tumbling.
The incident is the second in just a few days, after another Jewish man in Williamsburg was attacked last Shabbat.
According to police and other reports, the incident involved a group of men who yelled derogatory and hateful remarks at the victim, and then one of the assailants punched the victim in the face.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for both of these most recent assaults.
“The shocking video footage of the assault on a Jewish man in plain daylight shows the perpetrators of these despicable acts feel emboldened,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL’s regional director for New York and New Jersey.
“This is the second alleged antisemitic assault we’ve seen during the past week alone. We cannot allow antisemitic assaults to become the new normal. ADL remains committed to continuing our efforts with all New Yorkers to help stop this unacceptable antisemitic violence.”
It’s shocking but not surprising that such violent hate crimes are being committed against Jews (yesterday in Bklyn) just as antisemitism is being mainstreamed. This attack resembles Nazi Germany where antisemites attacked Jews with glee. We won’t tolerate it! pic.twitter.com/mnHFh8ulnO
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) May 8, 2019
The 7th International Writers Festival next week in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, will feature leading Israeli authors together with writers from across the world in a celebration of all things literary.
The five-day festival running from May 12 to May 16 will open with a Jerusalem Prize being presented to American writer Joyce Carol Oates by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. It will be followed with a tribute to the late Israeli author Amos Oz, led by President Reuven Rivlin and historian Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger, Oz’s daughter.
The festival, held in the picturesque neighborhood overlooking the Old City, offers many English-language events, including literary meetings with Oates, fellow American writer André Aciman, Syrian activist and writer Ahmad Danny Ramadan, poet and playwright Sjón from Iceland and Latin American writer Andrés Neuman.
Prominent Israeli participants include authors David Grossman, Michal Govrin and Nir Baram, as well as journalists Janan Bsoul, Dana Spector and Oshrat Kotler.
The musical story of a Jewish family set in a shtetl was a risky bet when it premiered on Broadway over a half-century ago. But, after initial mixed reviews, “Fiddler on the Roof” would go on to capture the hearts of audiences — and be the first musical to exceed 3,000 performances in Broadway history.
Now, a new documentary illuminates its history and impact of the show that held the record for longest-running musical for nearly a decade. “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” makes its world premiere at the 27th Toronto Jewish Film Festival on May 8.
The film’s veteran director, Max Lewkowicz, knows people are well-acquainted with Anatevka’s most famous family, first portrayed in the stories of Sholem Aleichem — Tevye the milkman, his wife Golde and their unmarried gaggle of daughters.
Lewkowicz also knows that people have memorized the time-honored soundtrack (his personal favorites: “Far From the Home I Love” and “Sunrise, Sunset”). And he knows the talent that has been involved with “Fiddler” over the decades.
The 1964 Broadway production relied on the lyrics of Sheldon Harnick, the music of Jerry Bock, and the writing of Joseph Stein. It was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and had the star billing of Zero Mostel as Tevye.
Jessica Meir has been preparing to go into space since the age of 5. She attended her first space camp after finishing middle school and a training program at the Kennedy Space Center following her sophomore year at Brown University.
It took Meir three tries to be chosen for NASA’s highly selective astronaut training program, which she started in 2013 and from which she graduated two years later. Last month, NASA announced that Meir will be participating in her first mission.
It still feels surreal, she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a phone interview from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“[When] I’m sitting on that rocket about to launch, it’s really going to be then that it finally sets in,” the 41-year-old astronaut said.
On Sept. 25, Meir will co-pilot a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launching from Kazakhstan with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka. They will be joined by Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.
Meir, the daughter of a mother from Sweden and an Iraqi-Israeli father, holds Swedish and American citizenship. She will be the first Swedish woman, the fourth Jewish woman and the 15th Jew overall to be part of a space mission.
Israel nearly became the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon as Beresheet, save for a last-minute issue with its main engine just before touchdown in mid-April that caused it to crash into the lunar surface.
Beresheet, named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning “in the beginning”), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 22 and almost completed its 6.5 million-kilometer (4 million-mile) journey to the moon. It succeeded in entering the moon’s orbit, which is an accomplishment achieved by only seven countries.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration played a supportive role, exemplifying the close relationship between the United States and Israel, by sending a payload called the Lunar Retroreflector Array (LRA).
“The LRA is a small dome-shaped assembly with eight quartz mirrors. The mirrors are intended to be reflectors that other spacecraft can use for orientation and high-precision landings,” reported Extreme Tech.
In April 2018, a former U.S. congressman from Oklahoma, Jim Bridenstine, 43, became the 13th administrator of NASA and has been a major supporter of the Israeli space mission.
Rona Ramon, the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon who transformed her loss to become a leading advocate for Israeli youth, was on Thursday posthumously awarded this year’s Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.
Ramon, who died in December at the age of 54 after a battle with cancer, became a public figure after her husband, Israel’s first person in space, perished when the Columbia space shuttle broke up on reentry in 2003.
She largely stayed out of the public eye following her husband’s death, but in 2009, was forced back into the spotlight by the death of the couple’s oldest son, Capt. Asaf Ramon, 21, who was killed when his F-16 warplane crashed during a routine training flight.
She founded and led the Ramon Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes academic and social leadership among Israeli youth with a focus on space, flight, science, and technology. She also traveled across Israel giving speeches and working as a grief counselor.
Her children, Noa, Yiftah and Tal, who were visiting Nepal and could not attend the prize ceremony in Jerusalem, sent a video greeting that was broadcast on Thursday evening.
Thousands of photographs have been preserved at the National Library of Israel, documenting the operational history of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, throughout the state’s history. The Library is bringing these photographs back to life through a digitization project, that allows the yellow negatives to be converted into high resolution images.
However, the Library is lacking information relating to the identities of the soldiers and are requesting the public’s help to identify their names and stories.
Last summer the Library partnered up with Facebook Israel to make these cultural treasures more accessible to the public, as well as continuing the initiative to identify the soldiers in the photographs.
“We hereby invite the public to identify and tag their loved ones, family members and friends who served in these wars. In this way, their names will be commemorated in the history pages of the State of Israel, their memories preserved for the benefit of future generations alongside other Israeli cultural treasures of at the National Library,” the Library’s press release read.
The collection includes more that 2.5 million photographs documenting the Land of Israel’s history spanning back 150 years.
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