October 4, 2022

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05/14 Links: The unexpected death of BDS; Bennett: Israel must ditch ‘bunker’ diplomacy


From Ian:

The unexpected death of BDS
That bastion of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement the Electronic Intifada recently leaked a copy of a report co-written by the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute. If the authors of the report had taken a look at the BDS movement in the UK they would have realised that we are watching the movement in its death throes.
People in the United Kingdom are tired. They’re tired of hypocrites saying they’re against occupation by occupying their lecture theatres. They’re tired of hypocrites campaigning for rights for Palestinians by depriving Jews of theirs. They’re tired of hypocrites claiming to be in favour of free speech while insisting Zionists be silenced. They’re tired of hypocrites telling them what they can and can’t buy or where they’re allowed to eat by holier than thou activists using Israeli made products to preach their message. Examples of this hypocrisy are everywhere.
Kamal Hawwash the Vice Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was recently in the news for being denied entry to Israel. The rights and wrongs of Israel’s new law notwithstanding how can one of the most outspoken advocates of BDS really display righteous indignation that he’s not allowed to visit the very country he’s calling on others to boycott?
Malia Bouattia the outgoing president of the National Union of Students may have eleven and a half thousand followers on Twitter but scraped only 270 votes in her failed bid to hold onto her position for another year. David Ward the one time Member of Parliament who was recently called an antisemite in the House of Commons has been sacked by the head of his party and Ken “Hitler” Livingstone the former Mayor of London can look forward to nothing more than infamy for the rest of his career. The fact that the Labour Party refused to expel him simply contributed to Britons finding the party unfit for government.

Macron expected to support two-state solution, says BDS is antisemitic

A succession of ceremonies marked the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron as France’s eighth president under the Fifth Republic. Outgoing president François Hollande received his successor at the Élysée Palace on Sunday morning and the two men spoke in private for more than an hour, after which Hollande left en route for the Socialist Party headquarters.
Guided by rigid French protocol, Macron’s day was still very much in his image. Similarly to his long walk on election evening, when he walked for several minutes, alone, across the Louvre Museum courtyard until he reached the stage, Macron walked alone on Sunday on the red carpet at the Élysée court toward his former boss and mentor Hollande.
The speech Macron delivered an hour later was sober, with the new head of state saying he is “fully aware of the high expectations of the French citizens.
“The French people has chosen hope and a spirit of achievement over a spirit of division and breaking away from the global market,” he said, adding that he now carries the responsibility of convincing French citizens that their country has all the resources necessary to once again be a leading country within the family of nations.

Anti-Semitic politician taken off En Marche ticket

The party of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron withdrew from its parliamentary elections ticket a politician who made statements deemed anti-Semitic.
Christian Gerin, a journalist, was taken off the En Marche ticket Friday, a day after he was nominated to represent the party in next month’s elections for the French parliament, in connection with messages he wrote in 2013, throughout last year and this year on Twitter.
In one tweet, flagged as “anti-Semitic” by the LICRA watchdog against anti-Semitism and racism, he wrote: “When will there be a separation between CRIF and state?”
CRIF is the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, whose critics say wields too much influence over French politicians.
He also wrote that Manuel Valls, a former prime minister under outgoing President Francois Hollande, is “virulently Zionist, racist and an Islamophobe.”
Gerin also wrote on Twitter: “The only solution: BDS.”

Daphne Anson: Brats & Braves (videos)

For anyone who has not yet seen them in all their infantile shame, Israel-hating brats at the University of California at Irvine use bully boy tactics to disrupt a meeting and silence a speaker. The totalitarian Left in action once again.
In Toronto, a chanting kid on a grown-up’s back leads the anti-Israel protest. Pro-Israel demonstrators face the mob, with its obscene and very telling cries of “From the River to the Sea …”
A brave Englishman’s delicious satire on Islamofascism and its totalitarian leftists allies:

Trump still mulling US embassy move to Jerusalem, Tillerson says

US President Donald Trump is taking a “measured” approach to deliberations over moving America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said over the weekend.
Speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, Tillerson said the president’s decision will be informed “by the parties involved” in the Middle East peace process.
“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have,” Tillerson said.
“He wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine,” the secretary continued. “And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”
Trump campaigned on a promise to move the embassy, but quickly changed course after taking office, advised by Mideast allies that such an action would roil the region and undermine his efforts to jumpstart peace talks.
“Most certainly Israel’s view on whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction,” Tillerson added. “I think the president’s being very measured in how he goes about this– and appropriately so.”

Bennett Demands: ‘Trump must understand that the embassy needs to be moved’

Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett called on the Prime Minister Sunday to send a clear message to President Donald Trump that Israel expects the US to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as called for by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.
President Trump, who is expected to arrive in Israel next Monday, will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, before visiting Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Trump, who promised during his 2016 presidential campaign to implement the 1995 Embassy Act and transfer the US embassy to the Israeli capital, has since backtracked on the promise, saying that the matter is under consideration.
Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that all countries with diplomatic relations with Israel, including the US, should move their embassies to the Israeli capital.
“Israel’s stance is that all the embassies belong in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem, and the US Embassy should be one of the first to move.”
On Sunday, however, the Education Minister pushed Netanyahu to lay out Israel’s position more aggressively to the president, calling on him to send a clear message that the Jewish state expected President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise.

White House: Trump to push Palestinian ‘self-determination’ on Mideast trip

US President Donald Trump will work toward a “just and lasting peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, including the Palestinian aspiration of “self-determination,” on his upcoming trip to the region, the White House said Friday.
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters during the daily press briefing that Trump will meet again with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where the president will “express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.”
McMaster also said that Trump’s meetings with Israeli leaders would look to cement stronger ties between the two allies.
“With President (Reuven) Rivlin and Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, he will reaffirm America’s unshakable bond to the Jewish state,” he said.
Throughout the trip, Trump will “demonstrate his hopes for a just and lasting peace,” he added.

Trump social media chief touts trip to ‘Palestine’

US President Donald Trump’s director of social media recognized “Palestine,” apparently accidentally, when posting online about the president’s upcoming trip to the region.
Trump is slated to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on May 22-23 in a trip meant to jumpstart peace talks between the sides. He will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.
Dan Scavino, the White House head of social media, advertised the trip on Facebook as taking the president to “Rome,” “Sicily,” “Israel,” “Saudi Arabia,” “Palestine” and “Brussels.”
After drawing criticism from conservatives, the post was amended to read “Palestinian Territories.”

Bennett: Israel must ditch ‘bunker’ diplomacy, or have its fate decided by others

Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s trip to Israel, Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett on Saturday warned that Jerusalem must present its own vision for the future of the Middle East, or risk the country’s fate being decided by others.
On Friday US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters during a daily press briefing in Washington that Trump will work toward a “just and lasting peace” between Israel and the Palestinians on his upcoming trip to the region. McMaster added that Trump will meet again with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and will “express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.”
Responding to those comments, Bennett, a top coalition partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for explicit withdrawal of Israeli support for the two-state solution and the presentation of a bold alternative plan.
“We cannot continue to run a ‘bunker’ policy, or Israel’s fate will be decided by others,” he said.
Referencing Netanyahu’s seminal 2009 address at Bar-Ilan University, in which the prime minister expressed support for two states, Bennett claimed the speech and its acknowledgement of Palestinian national aspirations had “brought upon us boycotts, terrorism and a serious demographic threat. It is now time to revoke it.”

Anti-Israel resolution blocked at Union for the Mediterranean

The Knesset delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) headed by Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) successfully cancelled a Palestinian Arab proposed amendment for the Union which could have had practical ramifications on the Union’s plans for action.
The amendment submitted by the Palestinian Arabs sought to place the blame for the situation in Gaza on “the occupation,” “settlements,” and the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
MK Margalit, who presented a plan for cooperation among countries in the region, said: “This is a victory for initiative over fear mongering. The economic cooperation that we presented at the assembly brought the European Parliament to calculate a new path.” Margalit called on members of the European Parliament “to join initiatives advancing peace, instead of ones distancing peace.”
The PA representative, Zohir Bandoka, attacked Israel at the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the assembly, asserting that it tramples the human rights of Palestinian Arabs. “We want a state, we want to be free and not dependent on the kindnesses of Israel,” he said. He was cut off by the Chairman of the Committee, Renato Soru from Italy.

On Jordan’s East Bank, Palestinians grasp at old idea for statehood

Palestinian-Jordanian confederation has long been a non-starter, not least because Israeli rightists espoused the idea that ‘Jordan is Palestine.’ But a lack of faith in the peace process and their leadership has spurred many on the East Bank to revive the idea.
Confederation, a union of sovereign states, has long been a polarizing fringe idea that was – and mostly still is – publicly dismissed outright by Palestinian and Jordanian officials alike. Palestinians were suspicious it would make a Palestinian entity subservient to Jordan, while Jordanians feared Israelis would use it as an excuse to drive thousands of Palestinians from Israeli territory into Jordan, upsetting the kingdom’s delicate balance of Palestinians and Jordanian tribes. Joining Palestine with Jordan was a political non-starter.
So why is there a groundswell of new support for a rejected idea?
Analysts say it is a product of the despair East Bank Palestinians feel at not having a political voice as they see their dream of independence slip away. They feel estranged from the West Bank-based Palestinian political institutions, have little faith in either the PLO or Hamas, and so are turning to the government of their host country.
“People are so desperate to end the occupation they are saying that if a confederation with Jordan can save us from the evils of occupation, then we are willing to accept it,” says Daoud Kuttab, a veteran Palestinian journalist who spends part of his time in Jordan as director of the Community Media Network.
“The fact you are hearing this more now is a reflection of people’s desperation rather than desire.”

Osama bin Laden’s son calls for lone-wolf attacks on Jews, Americans

Sheikh Hamza Osama bin Laden, son of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, called for lone-wolf attacks against Jews and Americans in a new propaganda video released Saturday.
The video, entitled ‘Advice for Martyrdom-Seekers in the West’, stated that “inflicting punishment on Jews and Crusaders” is “more vexing and severe for the enemy.”
He called for jihadists around the globe to “avenge the children of Syria, the widows of Palestine, the women of Iraq, and the orphans of Afghanistan.”
Hamza was not present during the 2011 US Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan, in which his father and brother were killed.
As a child Hamza was featured in many propaganda videos and reportedly was being groomed to inherit his father’s leadership position, earning him the title of “al-Qaeda’s poster child.”

PM Benjamin Netanyahu pans Jordan for siding with terrorist

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Jordan for not condemning Saturday’s terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, in which one of its citizens stabbed an Israeli police officer.
“It is time that Jordan ceases its double sided game. Just as Israel condemns terror attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn terrorist attacks in Israel. Terror is terror,” Netanyahu’s Office said.
A security video released by the police showed the assailant Mohammed Abdullah Salim al-Kasaji, 57, wearing a suit and clutching a knife. He pushed the officer onto the ground and stabbed him. The officer managed to stand back up briefly only to be pushed back by Kasaji.
Two Israelis on their way back from the Western Wall saw the incident and tried to help the officer, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. Although the officer was wounded, he managed to pull out his gun and kill Kasaji, Samri said.

Many Mistakes and Distortions in JPost’s Feature on Hebron

The Jerusalem Post’s Friday edition had a big feature about Hebron, the Jews, Arabs and history. There are so many misleading distortions and mistakes that any good researcher could have corrected/prevented, I’d say not to read it at all.
I will just mention a few things here and hope that people a lot more knowledgable than myself will go through it carefully and thoroughly. Just to explain that I have more than a simple passing knowledge of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. My husband and I spent Shabbatot and even the Passover Seder in Hebron, 1970-71 and had been signed up for an apartment in the first stage of Kiryat Arba.
Distortion #1:
“Hebron was once a model of Jewish-Muslim coexistence,”
That’s a totally idealized version of the history. Relations were not all that rosey. Although there are a couple of isolated stories of Jews being friendly with neighboring Arabs and then rescued by them, this was the exception to the rule. There were always tension and attacks on Jews. And when the massacre began, the Jewish community was horrified that even most of the Arabs who had always seemed friendly attacked and killed with great enthusiasm.
Totally False #1:
“In the late 19th and early 20th century, Jews and Arabs lived side by side in Hebron, sharing shops, hospitals, and holy sites.”
Moslems forbade Jews to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
About 700 years ago, the Muslim Mamelukes conquered Hebron, declared the structure a mosque and forbade entry to Jews, who were not allowed past the seventh step on a staircase outside the building. (Jewish Virtual Library)

South Africa: Deputy President and government ministers to fast in solidarity with “Palestinians”

Johannesburg – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined a number of government ministers and others in pledging to take part in a 24-hour fast in solidarity with more than 1500 Palestinian political prisoners.
Ramaphosa addressed the ANC’s provincial executive committee in Colesberg in the Northern Cape yesterday.
The Palestinian prisoners are on the 25th day of a hunger strike in Israeli prisons, demanding an end to solitary confinement, detention without trial and inadequate medical treatment.
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The 24-hour solidarity hunger strike fast will start at 6pm tomorrow and end at 6pm on Monday.
Ministers who will take part in the fast include Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (Health), Ayanda Dlodlo (Communications), Naledi Pandor (Science & Technology), Rob Davies (Trade & Industry), and Ebrahim Patel (Economic Development).
A number of deputy ministers will also take part along with well known personalities, liberation icons and activists.

Israel one of least affected by cyberattack that hit 100 nations

Businesses and government bureaus around the world scrambled on Saturday to defend against a massive cyberattack that affected car factories, hospitals, schools and other organizations in some 100 countries.
The ransomware attack included a destructive virus dubbed WannaCry, which exploited a vulnerability in the Windows operating system to spread itself across networks, a rare and powerful feature that caused infections to surge.
The virus reportedly locked up more than 100,000 computers, demanding owners pay between $300 and $600 to get their data back.
It is believed that a group calling itself “ShadowBrokers” is behind the attack, which reportedly used technology originally developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. The identity of ShadowBrokers’ members is unknown.
Israel was among the countries targeted, but was one of the least affected by the attack.

Palestinian Authority hopes to launch e-currency in 5 years

The Palestinian Authority is planning to introduce the territory’s own digital currency within five years, a move designed to safeguard against potential Israeli interference in the Palestinian economy, the head of the Ramallah-based Palestine Monetary Authority said over the weekend.
Palestinians have no currency of their own and use the euro, U.S. dollar, Israeli shekel and Jordanian dinar in their daily lives. But with limited control over money supply and ultimately, inflation, authorities are mulling a bitcoin-style solution, PMA chief Azzam Shawwa said.
“That is something we would like to see,” Shawwa said, adding the new e-currency “will be called the Palestinian pound.”
Bitcoin is a global digital currency and payment system.
Shawwa spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the annual meeting in Cyprus of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD said during the meeting it would start investing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip via donations
The PMA says on its website that it aimed to become a “full-fledged and modern central bank” for an independent Palestine.

Convicted murderer of six Israelis elected as Palestinian mayor of Hebron

Tayseer Abu Sneineh, the convicted murderer of six Israelis, was reportedly elected mayor of the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday as head of the Fatah Party list.
Abu Sneineh was one of four Palestinians behind the murder of six Israeli yeshiva students in 1980.
The students, included two American citizens and a Canadian national, were part of a group that had danced from the Cave of the Patriarchs to Beit Hadassah in Hebron when Abu Sneineh and his terror cell opened fire. The six students were killed and 16 others were wounded.
The Palestinians were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison but were later released in various prisoner exchanges Israel carried out throughout the 1980s. Tayseer Abu Sneineh was released in a prisoner swap in 1983.

Gaza: Thousands walk on ‘Balfour Declaration’ carpet

“The Red Carpet” film festival opened on May 12 in Gaza, with a ceremony intended to emphasize the Palestinian Arabs’ opposition to the Jews’ right to a state in their historical homeland.
The 328-foot-long (100 meters) carpet was spread near Gaza’s seaport and bore the words “Balfour Declaration.”
Thousands of film festival visitors stepped on the carpet to express their condescension of the Balfour Declaration and its implications.
In honor of the Balfour Declaration’s 100-year anniversary, the Palestinian Authority has begun a campaign to pressure Britain into revoking the Declaration and publicly apologize for the ramifications it has had for the “Palestinian” community since 1917.
Britain has so far refused to acquiesce to this demand.

North Korea Launches Provocative New Missile Test; Projectile Lands 60 Miles From Russia

North Korea carried out a provocative new ballistic missile test early Sunday, sending a projectile to a higher altitude and closer to Russia than any of its recent tests, according to officials.
A missile launched near the city of Kusong, in western North Korea, flew across the country and into the Sea of Japan/East Sea, hitting the water about 60 miles from Vladivostok in eastern Russia, according to US officials.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile reached an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) and flew for 30 minutes.
“It is possibly a new type of missile,” Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said.
The high altitude and longer flight time indicate a missile with an extended range, according to David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

College dean admits ‘racist and anti-Semitic conduct occurred’

The head of a prestigious Cambridge college apologized to two students whose complaints of anti-Semitic abuse were not upheld fully and inadequately handled.
Jane Stapleton, Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, said on Thursday that the College now “accepts that racist and anti-Semitic conduct occurred and has apologized to the students who reported it.”
Stapleton, whose title is equivalent to dean, also announced changes to the College’s complaint-handling procedures, the Jewish News of London reported.
The two students had reported suffering racist and anti-Semitic abuse in August last year while at a College party organized by two sports clubs. The College’s initial investigation failed to identify any individual perpetrator but disciplined two students for swearing and physical aggression, and restricted the societies’ social activity.
It did not uphold the students’ complaint of a hate crime.

Article in Canadian newspaper equates the Jewish State to Nazi Germany

Mississauga-based Meshwar newspaper published in its latest issue (182, May 12, 2017, p. 15) an article entitled “On the Occasion of Remembrance Day of the Palestinian Holocaust” penned by Khalid Issa Dhiyabat, a Palestinian national who lives in Sweden.
In a article drafted as a letter to an Israeli Jew, the author claims that the Palestinian people are victims of a Holocaust inflicted on them by the survivors of the Holocaust who escaped Nazism in Europe and settled in the Holy Land (Palestine/ The Land of Israel).
He also implicitly equates the Jewish nature of the State of Israel to the Aryan race-based Nazi Germany and Nazi Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, to former prime minister of Israel Ariel Sharon. The following is Khalid Issa Dhiyabat’s article (originally in Arabic):
O my enemy, good morning.
When you are drinking your coffee this morning and mourning you grandfather in Warsaw on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, can you believe that I’m also mourning him while I’m drinking my coffee far from Jaffa in a Scandinavian city in southern Sweden!
Like you I’m crying over the Holocaust as we are those who were caught in its fire and we are still being burnt every day for the sake of your Holocaust!

In English, Haaretz Upgrades Hamas’ New Document to New ‘Charter’

The Hebrew edition, on the other hand, accurately refers to the document with the Hebrew word “matza” (political platform) (CAMERA’s translation):
Haniyeh’s selection marks the end of a rejuvenation process within Hamas, after the elections of local leadership and the publication of the movement’s new platform. . . .
In the beginning of last week, Hamas presented the movement’s new platform at a press conference in Qatar.

This is not the only time that the English edition has erroneously characterized Hamas’ new political document as a charter, while the Hebrew edition correctly referred to a platform (matza). Moreover, the English edition’s numerous erroneous references to the new “document” as a “charter,” while the Hebrew edition was precise about the terminology, is consistent with the phenomenon called “Haaretz, Lost in Translation,” in which Haaretz in English, geared towards an international audience, frequently downplays or whitewashes Palestinian violence, extremism or other wrongdoing.
There is also the May 1 headline, “Hamas Presents New Charter Supporting Palestinian State Along 1967 Borders: . . . . Israel blasted new charter as smoke screen for group’s real intentions.”

Telegraph claim: ‘With few exceptions, no one’s been allowed in or out of Gaza since 2007’

A May 13th article at The Telegraph, “Meet the Palestinian family who have tended the graves of our war dead for 60 years”, by correspondent Tom Rowley, focuses on a Gazan who works as a gardener for Commonwealth Graves Commission tending to a First and Second World War cemetery in the strip.
Ten paragraphs down, the Telegraph provides the following context on the location of the cemetery.
In the middle of the cramped concrete prison that is Gaza (with few exceptions, no one has been allowed in or out since Hamas came to power in 2007)…
This is extraordinarily misleading. In addition to the false suggestion that there’s a “concrete” wall surrounding Gaza, the claim that “with few exceptions, no one has been allowed in or out since…2007” is absurd, as data from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA oPt) demonstrates.
Here’s the OCHA oPt graph for the movement of people through the Erez crossing (run by Israel), in the north, between 2008 and 2017.

UK media falsely report Israel leaving Eurovision

British media reported that Israel had permanently withdrawn from the Eurovision song contest after the Israel Broadcasting Authority, about to be shuttered, made its farewells live while reporting the country’s scores.
Other countries also took the farewell by IBA host Ofer Nachshon to mean that Israel would be leaving the annual tournament, whose finals took place in Kiev on Saturday night.
“Tonight, is our final night, shortly IBA will shut down its broadcasting forever, so on behalf of all of us here in IBA, let me say thank you Europe for all the magical moments and the beautiful years,” Nachshon said at the end of the Eurovision broadcast.
Media in several countries, not familiar with the closure of the IBA as part of Israel’s public media reform that will see the broadcaster replaced by a new public media corporation, known as Kan, on Monday, reported the end of Israel at Eurovision.

Jew in ‘serious but stable’ condition after axe attack

A Ukrainian Jew in his twenties was critically injured by his axe-wielding neighbor.
The incident happened in Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine on Friday, according to a statement on the community’s website, which identified the injured community member only as Abraham, 26.
The neighbor attacked the man with a sharp object, hitting his leg, according to the statement. The incident is the subject of an ongoing investigation, the Politeka news website reported.
Police apprehended the neighbor, who is reported to have a violent past and a history of mental health issues.
According to Chabad.org, the victim was rushed to surgery, which was successful and saved the man’s foot. However, he remains in serious but stable condition.

Rome cops identify teens who toppled Jewish, Catholic headstones

Police identified four young teenagers as the vandals who smashed or toppled scores of Catholic and Jewish gravestones in Rome’s Verano cemetery.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, the four were aged 13 and 14 and came from “good families.”
Surveillance videos filmed them smashing headstones, tombs, and memorials in four sections of the cemetery, including the Jewish section, on Thursday night. The damage was discovered Friday morning during an inspection before the Verano cemetery opened.
Investigators said it appeared that the teens had gone on the rampage after remaining locked in the cemetery after closing time. A caretaker they called on a cellphone to let them out, as yet unaware of the damage, took down their names before opening the gate to allow them to exit.
Rome newspapers said there was no apparent motive for the rampage other than “boredom.” Some media speculated that the youths had been inspired by a videogame.

Poland unveils memorial to WWII hero who entered Auschwitz voluntarily

Warsaw’s mayor unveiled a monument Saturday to a World War II hero who volunteered to go to the Nazi’s Auschwitz death camp and informed firsthand on atrocities there but was later executed by Poland’s communist regime.
The stone-and-metal memorial for Capt. Witold Pilecki is located near the place where in September 1940 the clandestine army fighter let himself be caught by the occupying Nazi Germans. It was a step toward becoming an inmate of Auschwitz, which the Germans operated in southern Poland.
Pilecki’s son, Andrzej Pilecki, and daughter, Zofia Pilecka-Optulowicz, and other descendants joined hundreds of Warsaw residents and authorities at Saturday’s ceremony.
Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Pilecki was twice victorious, first when he was ready to sacrifice his life for the defense of Poland and second when the memory of him and other resistance fighters survived the communist regime.

German and Israeli doctors partner on Iraqi child’s heart surgery

As a kid, Sagi Assa learned a bit of Arabic from his Lebanese grandmother, which came in handy on Monday, as he explained to a nervous Kurdish-Iraqi mother that her son was doing well after heart surgery.
“Your son is going to be okay,” Assa, a surgeon at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, told Badyia Ghazi Ali, the mother of 11-year-old Marwan, who was born with a heart defect.
The boy, who arrived with his mother from Iraqi-Kurdistan, had an artificial heart valve made from the jugular vein of a cow placed in his pulmonary artery.
Assa conducted the surgery with the help of his former mentor, German doctor Stephan Schubert, who is an expert on the complex procedure.

Paul Young hangs his hat in Tel Aviv

“I joke that performers today are on their way back to the troubadour days. We’ll end up with curly-toed shoes and jester hats, performing and getting in our horse-driven carriages to do it somewhere else.”
Paul Young is describing the modern music business model, whereby veteran artists with gold records and hits galore are only seeing income by going out on the road to play concerts. But the 61-yearold British soul stylist who spent the 1980s at the top of the charts is hardly bitter about the prospects of singing warhorses “Every Time You Go Away” and “Wherever I Hang My Hat” for the foreseeable future.
“I love playing live and I love to travel.
I don’t get bored by either one,” he told The Jerusalem Post in a phone conversation recently ahead of his upcoming show on May 21 at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv. It will be Young’s third time to the country, following crowd-pleasing shows in both 2009 and 2010.

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler walks this way into Israel

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler landed in Israel on Saturday evening, three days ahead of his legendary rock band’s summer blowout concert in Tel Aviv.
The “Jaded” vocalist, 68, signed autographs and greeted adoring fans as he walked this way into the Holy Land.
Aerosmith will kick-off its ‘Aero-Vederci Baby!’ farewell tour in Tel Aviv on Wednesday at Hayarkon Park.
The pouty-lipped icon was said to have arrived to the country with his girlfriend. The pair is expected to visit Jerusalem, Masada and Eilat ahead of the much-anticipated show.
According to concert organizers, more than 45,000 tickets have already been sold for the gig by America’s so-called “greatest rock n’ roll band.”
The performance by the iconic band, often referred to as the “bad boys of Boston,” is their first in Israel since their last appearance here in 1994.

Can Vatican display shed light on the fate of the Menorah?

During a historic meeting with Pope John Paul II in 2004, then-Sephardic and Ashkenazi chief rabbis of Israel Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger reportedly threw caution and diplomacy to the wind and asked after the whereabouts of Judaism’s lost Menorah.
It was the first official visit of Israel’s highest religious authority to the Vatican, and on the docket were a wide range of sensitive religious and political subjects. Still, the rabbis insisted on raising this rather touchy issue.
Less than 10 years before Amar and Metzger’s pontifical visit, in 1996 Israeli Minister of Religious Affairs Shimon Shetreet issued a similar request during a meeting with John Paul II. And in 2004, then-president Moshe Katsav would do the same.
So it came as no surprise that the Menorah rumor was the first thing Chief Rabbi of Rome Riccardo Di Segni mentioned when he spoke with The Times of Israel about “Menorah: Cult, History and Myth,” the upcoming exhibition co-hosted by the Vatican Museums and the Jewish Museum of Rome, which will run from May 15 through July 23.
“When people hear about a joint exhibition on the Menorah by the Vatican and the Jewish Museum, I’m sure they’re thinking, ‘It’s about time, they are finally going to take it out of their vaults,’” he jokes, pointing out that the legend is actually much more popular outside Rome than in the local Jewish community.

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