Andrew Bolt: Telling Jews they are too dangerous as neighbours
Australia is shamed. A NSW court last week banned construction of a synagogue at Bondi, to save locals from getting accidentally hurt if the Jews are shot or bombed.
After this decision by the Land and Environment Court, what next? Send Jews back to the ghettos to keep us safe?
What a victory for the jihadists trying to kill them.
This disgrace started when the Friends of Refugees from Eastern Europe decided to build a synagogue on tennis courts at Wellington St, Bondi.
Waverley Council, which ironically includes several Jews, resisted, worried at first by a design with apartments at the back.
That design was then modified; a planned blast wall — a defence against car bombs — was made smaller and less obtrusive.
And when Waverley Council still failed to approve the project, FREE appealed to the Land and Environment Court.
The council now claims it was the court alone that rejected the appeal, on the grounds of the danger to the neighbours.
But Commissioner Graham Brown made clear in his findings that the council’s barrister had queried the “suitability of the site having regard to impact on safety and security ‘of future users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians’.”
The level of anti-Semitism in the Visegrad countries differs. In 2014, an ADL study asked 11 basic questions concerning classic anti-Semitic attitudes in a number of countries. It found that 45% of Poles harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. In Hungary the figure is 41%, and in the Czech Republic 13%. No data is available for Slovakia. When asked if Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust, 62% of Poles responded yes, with 61% of Hungarians agreeing. 44% of Czech citizens answered affirmatively to the same question.
In 2004, I interviewed Mark Sofer, then Deputy Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. At that time the Visegrad countries and several others had just joined the EU. He said: “Conventional wisdom tells us that the accession of these countries to the EU is positive for Israel. For once, conventional wisdom may well be correct.” He has indeed been proven correct. These and other central European countries often support Israel in a frequently politically hostile EU. They are also important for Israeli investors.
Another reason these countries are important not only for Israel but also for European Jewry is that they oppose immigration. The immigrants are to a large extent Muslims from the Middle East. Brussels and the leaders of European countries know well that most Muslim immigrants have been indoctrinated with extreme anti-Semitic propaganda from childhood. An advisor to the European court wants it to reject the challenge by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU European council decision that EU members must take in hundreds of asylum-seekers.
Yet the EU leaders do not care. The decent thing would have been to vet Muslims immigrating into Europe so that these so-called liberal democracies would not have admitted anti-Semitic immigrants. As this is not the case, the policy of the Visegrad countries not to receive immigrants is preferable. In this way in future at least a few European countries where Muslim anti-Semitic hatemongers will not play a prominent role.
Six years ago, a teenager in Newton, Massachusetts — Shiri Pagliuso — asked her father if it was true that Israel tortures and murders women activists in the Palestinian resistance movement.
Then a high school freshman, Shiri had learned the information from her textbook — the Arab World Studies Notebook, a 540-page volume so riddled with unabashed bias that it had garnered a scathing 30-page report from the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Back in 2011, Shiri’s father — Tony Pagliuso — wasn’t yet aware of the AJC’s report. But he knew outright propaganda when he saw it.
He contacted his daughter’s teacher, the head of the high school’s history department, the principal, and eventually the superintendents — who all defended the Arab World Studies Notebook as essential for sharpening critical thinking skills. They also praised the book for providing a “balanced perspective” and an “Arab point of view.”
Pagliuso realized that he was being stonewalled, which got him thinking: If he looked at Shiri’s other course materials, what other dreadful stuff would he find?
Determined to expose the extent of the problem, a bitter multi-year battle ensued that pitted Pagliuso — who was soon joined by a group of other parents and Newton residents — against a shockingly hostile school district.
Together, the parents and residents fought to get school officials to acknowledge their legitimate concerns, provide access to all the curriculum materials as required by law, and to pull the Arab World Studies Notebook and other academically unsuitable materials.
Now, in a new study by CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting), researcher Steven Stotsky carefully traces how these partisan materials — many with scant scholarly value — seeped into a nationally prominent public school system.
Tauber inquired into the factors which took a battle and made it into a symbol of human barbarity.
The first such factor was a press conference convened by the Irgun the day after the battle. To glorify the Irgun’s achievement, the spokesman threw out an utterly unrealistic number of Arabs killed in the battle. Many Irgun fighters similarly boasted of their kill count when they returned to Jerusalem.
Haganah forces which arrived in the village were shocked at the sight of the burnt corpses. Some of them, primarily Palmach soldier and later the historian Major General Meir Pa’il, spoke of what they saw in various frameworks and tried to use it to prove the moral and military weakness of the other undergrounds. Tauber proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the Haganah people speaking of the battle came afterwards and are thus second-hand accounts.
The Arab leadership wished to use Deir Yassin as a rallying cry for the cruelty of the Jews. They spread horror stories via the news agencies. They likely wished to encourage the fighting spirit of the Arabs, but the complete opposite occurred. Deir Yassin, like the loss at Mishmar Ha-Emek and the death of Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini, marked the beginning of the complete collapse and defeat of Palestinian Arab society.
The greatest influence reserving the myth is the international propaganda aimed at using Deir Yassin to attack the moral conduct of the Jews in war and the partial and sometimes distorted use of the testimonies of the survivors.
The End of the Myth?
Tauber’s thorough, well-documented study covers all the bases and aims to set everything straight.
The conclusion from the book is that the battle was conducted in an amateurish manner and there were a lot of blunders—but there was no deliberate massacre. Aside from isolated cases, most of those killed at Deir Yassin, Jews and Arabs alike, were killed in battle.
It’s hard to believe that Tauber’s book will put an end to the use of Deir Yassin for propaganda and political purposes. Myths take on a life of their own and historical facts are but background sets for them. But for those who wish to understand the battle of Deir Yassin from a scholarly and factual perspective, Tauber’s book is a highly important, extensive, and thorough discussion of a retrospectively seminal event in Israeli history.
It should be no surprise that the ACLU would be at the forefront in defending the rights of the anti-Israel movement. The ACLU is an advocate of intersectionality, whereby Zionism is stigmatized as being incompatible with everything from feminism to fighting racism. Progressive Zionists are demonized while even the most illiberal BDS supporters are celebrated.
Memo to the ACLU: fighting against Israel’s right to exist meets the State Department definition of antisemitism. Even the UN secretary general said that the “denial of Israel’s right to exist is antisemitism.”
The ACLU says it does not want to “stifle efforts to protest Israel’s settlement policies by boycotting businesses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.” Notice that it doesn’t confine itself to the disputed territories but includes all of Israel, more proof this is not about a two-state solution but supporting the BDS goal of eliminating the Jewish state.
According to the pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada, “WESPAC, Adalah-NY, Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester and Peace Action NY successfully mobilized to make this bill a central issue at New York Senator Gillibrand’s town halls.”
The intimidation is working, as Senator Kristin Gillibrand, a co-sponsor of the original legislation, has withdrawn her support, moving her into alignment with J Street.
Does Senator Gillibrand know these groups are vehemently anti-Israel and antisemitic, on the fringe of the left-wing extreme? J Street, a self-styled “pro-Israel, propeace” organization which reliably comes to the aid of BDS supporters, has expectedly lobbied Congress to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Despite claiming that it is opposed to BDS, it is using its considerable voice not to explain the dangers of BDS to the State of Israel, but to support BDS’s rights, advocating engagement through dialogue that lends legitimization to BDS’s antisemitism.
BDS is not about two states or the “occupation,” it is about the destruction of Israel.
The words of BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti say it all: “Definitely, most definitely we [BDS] oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” and “no Palestinian Supports a Jewish state in Palestine.”
Let’s hope that the rest of Congress will rally in support of this important legislation against international BDS and will not be duped by the ACLU’s dubious freedom of speech argument.
29 July 2017 saw an anti-Israel rally in Auckland’s Aotea Square that had been billed as “Alaqsa solidarity rally” to protest against Israel’s “security measures that require Palestinians to enter through metal detectors to go pray” (sic). These measures were removed by Israel before the day of the rally, after widespread (and sometimes violent) protests in the Muslim and Arab world, the murder of three Israelis celebrating Shabbat in their home, and attacks on a Turkish synagogue and Israeli embassy personnel in Jordan. While the removal of these measures was hailed as a victory for Palestinians, an opportunity for an Israel bashfest must never be wasted, so the rally went ahead. Here are 10 pro-tips that astute observers gleaned about how to be a card-carrying Israel-hating activist:
1. Talk about wanting peace, humanity, justice and equality for everyone, Jews and Palestinians alike, as much as possible. Insist that the best way to achieve this is a one-state solution. If you do that, you don’t need to bother with the pretence that you have anything other than maximalist objectives that would see all of Israel being swallowed up in Palestine, that the “occupation” refers to anything other than all of Israel and that the solution to this conflict is a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. If anyone expresses concern that you are calling for the disestablishment of one nation state in the entire world, which just happens to be the one Jewish state, turn it back on them and make them sound really unreasonable. To wit:
“I believe in a one-state solution with equal rights for everyone, don’t you believe in peace and equality for all too?”
If told that Israel is already a state with equal rights for Arabs and Jews, deny deny deny!
8. Give a platform to a pet anti-Israel “champion of the oppressed” Jew, to provide a shield for all accusations of antisemitism. Also say repeatedly that some of your best friends are Jews. Refer to “as a Jew” writers like Anthony Loewenstein and Norman Finklestein to establish your bona fides as an open-minded intellectual who reads from a wide variety of sources and holds a well-informed opinion. Quote anything from Haaretz to show that you regularly read Israeli newspapers to get balance and/or highlight how much Israelis despise their government’s actions.
Attendees at a convention in Chicago on Saturday for the Democratic Socialists of America launched into an anti-Israel chant after passing a motion to overwhelmingly endorse the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement.
In a video posted to social media following the vote, a number of people at the event began chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a popular slogan at anti-Israel protests around the world — as one person waved a Palestinian flag.
Others remained silent as the chanting went on, but the BDS motion — passed with 90 percent approval of the 697 delegates from 49 states — was met with wild applause.
The chant is perceived as a call to eliminate the state of Israel within the 1967 lines, and establishing a state of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea instead. Some pro-Palestinian activists argue that the slogan calls for an end to Israel’s military and civilian control over Palestinians in the West Bank and other areas they claim as part of a future state.
The organization reports that it has about 25,000 dues-paying members nationwide, up from 8,000 in recent years.
— Chicago DSA 🌹 (@ChicagoCityDSA) 5 August 2017
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington produced a video criticizing musical artist Roger Waters’ support of the BDS movement against Israel.
The video was released on Friday, ahead of Waters’ scheduled concerts over the weekend at Verizon Center in Washington DC. Activists in other cities are also targeting Waters upcoming shows, including in Nashville and Philadelphia, the Washington Post reported.
“Music can change the world. Music breaks down walls,” the video states. “Roger Waters should know that. Instead he’s using music to divide people.”
“It’s too bad that Roger Waters doesn’t understand that peace can only be achieved through dialogue and engagement. BDS will not bring peace. BDS is not the answer. More dialogue, more respect, more music is,” the video also says.
— JCRC of Greater DC (@JCRCgw) August 4, 2017
Police in southern Sweden are investigating an anti-Israel protest to determine whether the crowd chanted anti-Semitic epithets.
The Swedish-Palestinian Centre in Helsingborg held several anti-Israel protests last month while tensions were running high at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, The Local-Sweden reported.
But at least one of the protests may have degenerated into the use of anti-Semitic chants, including one which called Jewish people the “offspring of apes and pigs,” according to The Local, which said videos of the protests have gone viral on social media.
“We can see that there are elements in these protests that are worrying and serious because they contain anti-Semitic insults and anti-Semitic claims in combination with a violent rhetoric, in a really unfortunate way,” Jewish Community of Northwest Skåne chairperson Josefin Thorell told the Swedish broadcaster SVT Helsingborg, according to The Local.
The Jewish community reportedly is also preparing a report to submit to the police.
Palestinians immediately labeled it a “massacre”, a narrative of Israeli culpability accepted without scrutiny by many major media outlets and NGOs. The following photo of the young Palestinian girl, Huda Ali Ghalia, became iconic:
However, an IDF investigation concluded a week later that “that the incident did not result from fire by IDF forces that day.” Their findings were based on an inconsistency between the shrapnel found in the one of the wounded babies and the metal used in IDF artillery, the absence of a crater at the explosion site and the fact that the IDF had stopped firing 15 minutes before the incident.
Though most current articles which refer to the 2006 incident note that the cause as ‘disputed’, an Aug. 1st article in The Independent, reporting that the girl has now graduated college, provided background on the explosion which takes as a given that Israel was to blame.
As readers may recall, the PCHR was the source of dubious claims concerning ‘war crimes’ which appeared in BBC content less than 24 hours after the beginning of the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas. The group’s director was interviewed by the BBC on several occasions during that conflict.
As has been noted here previously, the PCHR is one of several NGOs uncritically quoted and promoted by the BBC despite being active in the lawfare campaign against Israel.
Moreover, the PCHR was one of the sources used by UNOCHA for the compilation of casualty figures and civilian/combatant ratios in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 conflict. Those figures were unquestioningly quoted, promoted – and even defended – by the BBC without any independent verification and are still being cited to this day in its content.
Now we learn that the PCHR director – described to audiences by the BBC’s Middle East editor as “a Palestinian human rights campaigner” – is of the opinion that terrorists who murder Israeli civilians have a ‘human right’ to generous monthly cash payments.
Whether or not that will do anything to convince the BBC that the PCHR is not a reliable and unbiased source of information worthy of unchallenged promotion by a media organisation committed to accurate and impartial reporting is of course highly doubtful.
In the last 12 months alone, Turkish President Erdogan has closed at least 15 universities and confiscated their property. Invoking Article 301 of the Turkish penal code — which amorphously criminalizes insults to “Turkishness,” the Turkish government or the Turkish military — he has also closed down numerous publishing houses. He has forced Turkish journals to remove from their editorial boards scholars who criticize him. Hundreds have been fired and blacklisted. Unable to work in Turkey and, with their passports confiscated, unable to leave, they represent the worst-case scenario of every comfortable Western academic who has ever bemoaned the “chilling effect” of Republican presidents and congresses, or who have proclaimed as “McCarthyism” any criticism of their own work.
Real suppression, however, making their persecution fantasies seem absurd, is mostly met with silence. Where is the moral indignation? Yet, there is no shortage of howls of “injustice” and BDS movements criticizing even the slightest perceived infringement of human rights in Israel, a country that ensures human rights and equality under the law to all its citizens.
But when it comes to Turkey — sssshhhhhh… Right now, the silence of these organizations tells more about them and their real motives than about the object of their unjustified indignation: Israel.
If there is one word Israeli official are not going to mention publicly when talking about Armenia, it is the word genocide. Armenia clearly wants Israel to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide, and despite the Israeli government going out of its way to bolster relations with the country, President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have consistently steered clear of this word.
We have full diplomatic ties with Armenia, with ambassadors in both capitals, but you can count on senior Israeli official to avoid any recognition of the Armenian genocide, making Israel one of the last holdouts in this regard.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi recently visited the country and signed economic agreements with Armenia. Hanegbi’s visit received scant coverage in the media, unlike Netanyahu’s foreign visits. The diplomatic lingo has provided Israeli officials many Hebrew alternatives to choose from when describing this genocide, which claimed the lives of 800,000 to 1.5 million people. Our diplomats use the words “tragedy” or “massacre” and various other words.
During his visit there, Hanegbi went out of his way to show his hosts where his heart truly lies. He visited the official Armenian genocide memorial in the capital Yerevan and the nearby museum. He wrote in the guest book that the world must make sure that such an event never recurs and that it will never be forgotten. During his tour of the museum he found a book from the 1920s — some two decades before the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews — with the title “The Armenian Holocaust.” He also got the impression that Armenians generally understand Israel’s reluctance to recognize the Armenian tragedy as genocide. Maybe the lofty Armenians that Hanegbi spoke to understood. Maybe they agreed. Maybe.
On a quiet backstreet not far from Istanbul’s famous Galata Tower on Thursday night, a group of Turkish ultra-nationalists launched an attack on the city’s Neve Shalom Synagogue. Protesters held placards bearing photos of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, where Israeli authorities last week imposed new security restrictions for Palestinian worshipers. They hurled stones and kicked the synagogue’s steel doors.
“Zionists, come to your senses,” said Kursat Mican, a local leader of the Alperen Hearths group that spearheaded the protest. “If you prevent our freedom of worship there then we will prevent your freedom of worship here.”
Ivo Molinas, the editor of Turkey’s Jewish newspaper Shalom, summed up the feeling of many Turkish Jews with a post on Twitter. “I am a Turkish citizen,” he wrote. “Why are you protesting in front of my place of worship?”
No one was injured in Thursday’s attack, which was later followed by a second protest by an Islamist group outside Istanbul’s Ahrida Synagogue. But the demonstrations served as a reminder of the challenges confronting Turkey’s small Jewish community, which not only contends with widespread anti-Semitism but also finds itself caught in the crossfire any time Israel faces criticism.
Ernst Zundel, a far-right activist who rose to notoriety over decades of public neo-Nazi activity in Canada and the US before being deported back to his native Germany on Holocaust denial charges, has died. He was 78.
Marina Lahmann, a spokeswoman for the community of Bad Wildbad in Baden-Wuerttemberg where Zundel lived, told The Associated Press on Monday that Zundel died over the weekend. She had no further information, saying the paperwork had not yet been processed.
“We can only confirm at the moment that he died,” she said.
Media in Canada quoted a statement from his wife, Ingrid Zundel, saying that he died of a heart attack at his home on Sunday. His wife, who lives in the United States, told CTV news she had spoken to her husband “just hours before he passed on and he was as optimistic and upbeat as ever.”
Born in Germany in 1939, Zundel emigrated to Canada in 1958 — allegedly to avoid German military service — and lived in Toronto and Montreal until 2001.
He achieved international notoriety for his neo-Nazi beliefs and writings, including “The Hitler We Loved and Why,” and operated Samisdat Publishers, a leading distributor of Nazi and Nazi-era propaganda. He also provided regular content for an eponymous far-right website.
Canadian officials rejected his attempts to obtain citizenship in 1966 and 1994.
A Jerusalem Post investigation surfaced even more offensive Nazi references on US-based clothing company Teespring’s website Monday, after the company replaced Nazi-associated garments with anti-swastika designs hours earlier.
Further inspection of the site’s offerings revealed a series of garments featuring Adolf Hitler.
“Hitler did nothing wrong ever,” and “We’re all Hitler now,” appeared on T-shirts advertised on the Teespring website. On another shirt, the words “The new Hitler. Deal with it.” are emblazoned over a portrait of US President Donald Trump.
The original garments that sparked controversy in the first place, created by KA Designs and sold on the site, displayed large the swastikas in rainbow colors with the words “Peace,” “Zen” and “Love.”
“Here at KA we explore boundaries. We push them forward,” was how the company had initially described the products. “Let’s make the Swastika a symbol of Love and Peace. Together, we can succeed.”
A new search in Germany for books stolen from Jews during the Third Reich is beginning to bear fruit.
Recently, a man in California who was the only survivor of the Holocaust in his family received a book from Germany that had been dedicated to him by a teacher. The only other things he has from his childhood are a piece of clothing and one family photo, the Deutsche Welle news agency reported.
Last fall, it was announced that 500 books from the library of Jewish department store owners Edith and Georg Tietz had been rediscovered in the city library of Bautzen.
The “Initial Check” project – dedicated to finding stolen books and their rightful heirs – is a relatively new part of Germany’s government-sponsored search for stolen art, coordinated by the Magdeburg-based Lost Art Foundation. For over a year, three provenance researchers have been searching through libraries, starting in the former East German state of Saxony-Anhalt. In all, there are some 6,000 libraries that eventually will be examined by researchers, Uwe Hartmann, head of provenance research at the Lost Art Foundation, told Deutsche Welle.
The successes may not be as sensational as the returns of paintings by famous artists to heirs. But according to a report in Deutsche Welle, the return of a book can be just as meaningful to the family involved, as in the case of the Holocaust survivor from California.
Officials of the then-Republic of China, under President Chiang Kai-shek, drafted a plan in 1939 to open the country’s borders to stateless Jews—of whom there were many in Europe, most of them having had their citizenship revoked by Germany or Austria—and settle them near the Burmese border. Although the proposal made it to the cabinet and was approved in principle, the government deferred and eventually dropped the idea. Aharon Shai writes:
In addition to humanitarian considerations, Chinese officials listed four major reasons for the initiative. One was assisting small ethnic groups in the spirit of China’s policy [toward its many ethnic minorities]. Another was the hope that assisting the Jews would evoke the British public’s sympathy toward China, [then at war with Japan], mainly because, as is commonly known, many British financiers and bankers who worked in East Asia were Jews.
China also expected that helping the Jews would increase the American public’s sympathy to China’s distress. Finally, the absorption of Jews, who had considerable economic means and talents, would be a welcome contribution to China, the planners said.
They decided to designate an area close to the southwestern border, appoint an official committee to run the project, enlist Jewish leaders from China and abroad to support the initiative, and register Jewish professionals to advance certain fields in China.
Mexican firm Mexichem, a producer of plastic pipes, has agreed to acquire control in Israel’s Netafim in a deal that values the drip irrigation firm at $1.895 billlon, Netafim said in a statement Monday.
Mexichem will buy an 80 percent stake in the company from private equity fund Permira, which held a 61.3 percent stake in the Israeli pioneer of drip irrigation systems, and also from Kibbutz Magal and Kibbutz Hazerim, which respectively held six and 33 percent stakes.
Completion of the deal is subject to regulatory permits and is expected to be finalized during the fourth quarter of the year, Netafim said.
Mexichem has committed to preserve Netafim’s activity in Israel for 20 years, including its production and R&D facilities, the statement said.
Mexichem is a manufacturer of products and solutions for a variety of industrial sectors, from petrochemical to construction, infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, telecom and energy. It is one of the biggest producers of plastic pipes and connections worldwide and one of the largest chemical and petrochemical companies in Latin America, according to its website.
The government of Cape Verde listed the island nation’s Jewish cemeteries and some other structures as heritage sites.
A Washington-based group, the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, announced the June 29 designation of the sites as part of the country’s “National Historical Patrimony” this week in an email to its members. The designation means that the cemeteries may not be destroyed and that a number of buildings with Jewish associations may not be altered, the group’s president, Carol Castiel, told JTA.
“CVJHP will continue to work hand-in-hand with the government based on our memorandum of understanding (Protocolo) signed in September 2016, to identify, restore, preserve and maintain these important monuments to Jewish heritage,” the statement said. Castiel told JTA that the sites may eventually be marked as a Jewish heritage circuit for tourists to the island.
The island’s Jews have all but disappeared, although many of its families are aware of their Jewish ancestry, as are some Cape Verde emigres who have settled in New England.
There were two waves of Jewish immigration to the former Portuguese colony about 300 miles off Africa’s west coast. The first was of secret Jews who came with Portuguese colonization in the 15th century.
That immigration is difficult to track because of the Jews’ secrecy, and the cemeteries and other sites are relics of a wave of Jewish immigrants to the island from Morocco and Gibraltar in the mid-19th century.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s iconic Wonder Woman character is expected to make an appearance in the upcoming movie “Flashpoint.”
“Flashpoint,” a DC Extended Universe film, and the first solo movie for the DC Comics character Flash, is scheduled to be released in 2020, Forbes columnist Mark Hughes reported over the weekend.
It will be the third DC film in which Gadot as Wonder Woman will appear as a side character. She also will be seen in the film “Justice League,” with a scheduled release this fall, and a sequel to “Wonder Woman” has already been announced for December 2019.
“Wonder Woman” was expected to break $400 million total at the box office in the United States over the weekend and close in on $800 million in worldwide receipts.
Millions around the world know Jonathan Lipnicki as the adorable kid from 1996’s Jerry Maguire.
But Lipnicki is now all grown up, and he is fresh off a whirlwind 10-day Taglit-Birthright trip that he says has changed his life.
“The Western Wall was the most incredible spiritual experience I have ever had,” Lipnicki, 26, wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of him at the Kotel. “I have never felt this close to my roots. I am home.”
The former child star, also known for his role in Stuart Little, was actively posting online throughout his journey – from riding camels to applying Dead Sea mud and inhaling hummus and kubbe.
He posted a photo of himself donning tefillin in Safed, and watching the sunrise at Masada.
“Sunrise at Masada was unreal!” he wrote. “Standing in a place where so much history has taken place, at such a beautiful time was truly inspiring.
Birthright Israel honored Lipnicki as its 600,000th participant, a distinction he took in stride.
Eighteen-year-old Marlos Sunzeld De Box, the great-granddaughter of Jules De Box, who saved a three-year-old Jewish child during the Holocaust and is listed with the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, is seeking to join the Israeli army, the Hebrew website Walla reported.
“By the time I was 13 I was already thinking about joining the IDF,” Marlos told Walla. “I thought to myself that I also want to help Israel, to live there and join the army. All the boys and girls in Israel serve in the army, give several years of their life to the state, and I think this is very beautiful. I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel at home here. I love Israel very much, and I want to be part of it and give back to it as much as I can.”
In Holland in 1942, Jules De Box found three-year-old Simi Leibel through a relative and brought him home. She and her parents hid the child until 1945. Simi was then reunited with his mother, who had survived the war, and moved to Israel with her.
50 years later, another relative spotted a newspaper advertisement that simply said, “I am Simi Leibel, I’m looking for Jules and Annie.” This led to a reunion between Simi and the De Box family.
In 2000, after they had passed away, Jules and her parents were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. This led Jules’ daughter Annika and her husband to visit Israel, where they eventually came to live. Their daughter Tabitha, Marlos’ mother, now lives in the northern kibbutz Rosh Hanikra.
Archaeologists say they have discovered a lost Roman city that was home to three of Jesus’s apostles — Peter, Andrew and Philip — on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.
The Israeli researchers’ claim centers on the discovery of remains from a Roman-style bathhouse in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, which is said to be the former location of the lost Roman city of Julias.
The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius wrote that the son of the biblical King Herod had built Julias, which was named after Julia Augusta, the mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. In the New Testament, Philip, Andrew and Peter are said to be from the town of Bethsaida.
Researchers said the bathhouse’s discovery denotes the existence of a large advanced city in the area.
“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city,” said Dr. Mordechai Aviam of the Holy Land Studies department at Israel’s Kinneret College, Haaretz reported. “He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture.”
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