Sarah Halimi: Beaten, tortured and killed — yet France turned a blind eye
The behaviour of the police was strange enough throughout this tragic night. Further questions were soon to be raised about the handling of the case. First, while the murder and its circumstances were reported almost instantly within the Jewish community and by the press agency AFP, the mainstream media didn’t mention it at all for two days until BFMTV, a 24-hour news channel, quoted at least one AFP dispatch on April 6 on its website.
Likewise, very little was shown or said about a protest march by 1,000 people in the Vaucouleurs Street neighbourhood on April 9. Considering the enormity of the crime, the reporting remained bafflingly low-key.
Things changed only after Sarah Halimi’s relatives and their lawyers convened a press conference on May 22 with the support of Jewish community leaders.
On June 1, 17 prominent French intellectuals, from philosophers Alain Finkielkraut, Marcel Gauchet, and Michel Onfray, to historians Jacques Julliard and Georges Bensoussan, to demographer Michèle Tribalat and sociologist Jean-Pierre Le Goff, called for “full light” in the Halimi case — the very words President Macron would later use — in a collective statement published by Le Figaro. From then on, the mainstream media devoted more space to the case, and, ironically, wondered why they had not paid it more attention earlier.
Axel Roux, a journalist for Le Journal du Dimanche, a widely read Sunday paper, admitted on June 4 that when he started investigating the case, he was “stunned” by the paucity of the media archives and the “minimalist” approach taken by his profession.
No less disturbing was the public officials’ silence. French members of the cabinet or government officials usually react to such crimes ex officio. Some may even take a more personal stand.
For instance, President Macron tweeted on August 14 his concern for the victims and their relatives just a few hours after a car ran into a pizzeria and killed a 13-year-old girl.
No such reactions occurred after Sarah Halimi’s murder, even though the Minister of the Interior granted an emergency audience to the leaders of the Jewish community. Neither did the political class comment publicly, except for the then National Front presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, who made an indirect statement on April 11.
Third, there is the legal angle. The issue of the attacker’s sanity, and thus of his penal responsibility, was left undecided for more than four months, and is still pending. Dr Daniel Zagury, the noted psychiatric expert commissioned to deal with the case, is due to submit his report by the end of August.
Kobili Traore was first sent to two psychiatric hospitals. It was only on July 11 that he was formally indicted for murder and kidnapping and transferred to the Fresnes prison.
To some of us, it is hardly a secret that anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Europe, or that the chief perpetrators are Muslims. But many politicians and news media have been so indefatigable in their efforts to obscure this uncomfortable fact that one is always grateful for official — or, at least, semi-official — confirmation of what everyone already knows.
It is a pleasure, then, to report that a new study, Antisemitic Violence in Europe, 2005-2015 — written by Johannes Due Enstad of the Oslo-based Center for Studies of the Holocaust and the University of Oslo, and jointly published by both institutions — is refreshingly, even startlingly, honest about its subject. Enstad notes that while anti-Semitic violence has declined in the U.S. since 1994, it has been on the rise worldwide. That, of course, includes Europe — most of it, anyway.
Examining statistics from France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia, Enstad points out that one of these seven countries “clearly stands out with a very low number” of anti-Semitic incidents despite its “relatively large Jewish population”; the country in question, he adds, “is also the only case in which there is little to indicate that Jews avoid displaying their identity in public.” In addition, it is the only one of the six countries in which the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence are not Muslims. Which country is Enstad referring to? Russia.
That Russia is relatively free of anti-Semitic violence may sound surprising to anyone familiar with the words Cossack and refusenik, but it actually makes sense. Would-be Jew-bashers in Russia know that if they’re arrested for committing acts of violence, the consequences won’t be pretty. In western Europe, by contrast, the courts are lenient, the terms of confinement short, and the prisons extremely comfortable. And while Muslims know that they are a protected class in Western Europe, able to commit all kinds of transgressions with near-impunity, that is far from being the case in Putin’s Russia.
Clifford D. May: Supremacists and revanchists
Immediately after last week’s terrorist attack in Barcelona, a pro-Islamic State website ?posted a video from the scene along with a message in Arabic saying, “Terror is ?filling the hearts of the Crusader in the land of Andalusia.”?
Let’s unpack that. “Crusader” is a term jihadists use, pejoratively, for ?Christians. More specifically, of course, it refers to the Christian soldiers who ?fought a series of wars, beginning in 1095, to recover Jerusalem and other ?parts of the Holy Land from the Muslim armies that had burst out of Arabia ?four centuries earlier. ?
Andalusia indicates the territories of the Iberian Peninsula that were conquered ?by Muslim armies from North Africa beginning in 711. The Reconquista, a war ?waged by Christians to recover those territories, ended in 1492. ?
Here’s the larger point: To those discomfited by theological or even ideological ?explanations for most modern terrorism, one alternative explanation is this: ?The killers are revanchists. Their motivation is to reverse territorial losses. ?
They have suffered such losses, they believe, in Europe, the Middle East and ?Asia. The want to fill “the hearts” of the “others” now living in such lands with ?terror in order to drive them out or at least relegate them to inferior status. In ?other words, these revanchists also are supremacists.?
In the longer term, their goal is grander. Finland, which also suffered a terrorist ?attack last week, was never part of a caliphate or Islamic empire. ?Islamic State publishes an online magazine called Rumiyah, Arabic for Rome, ?which they believe must be conquered by Muslims, as was the Christian ?capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul). But priority goes to formerly Muslim ?lands.?
In Tuesday’s speech, President Trump denounced the flow of U.S. money to Pakistan while that nation harbors terrorists. South Asian Islamism is an enormous problem, and yet a great deal of the discussion in America surrounding Islamism focuses on the Egyptian-founded Muslim Brotherhood.
But the Muslim Brotherhood is far from the only Islamist network in the United States; it is simply the best known. Other Islamist movements also benefit from government ignorance about the diversity of Islam and Islamism across the globe. The South Asian Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), for instance, has received millions from the U.S. taxpayer for its powerful network of charities and welfare services, which are designed to obtain external funding as well as legitimize JI as a representative voice of Muslims, in both America and South Asia.
Although JI has its own ideologues, literature, and infrastructure, it is often described as the South Asian “cousin” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qazi Ahmad Hussain, head of JI in Pakistan, has declared: “We consider ourselves as an integral part of the Brotherhood and the Islamic movement in Egypt….Our nation is one.”
JI’s history is bloody. During the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh, JI fighters helped Pakistani forces massacre hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis seeking independence from Pakistan.
Several JI leaders guilty of these war crimes fled to the West, where they helped establish JI organizations that operated as community leadership groups. Two western JI leaders have since been sentenced to death in absentia for these killings by a war-crimes tribunal.
One of those convicted, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, served as a leading official of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a prominent American Muslim organization. Twice a year, ICNA jointly hosts a conference with the Muslim American Society (MAS), a leading Muslim Brotherhood institution. Unsurprisingly, these conferences are filled with extremist preachers. Ahmed Taha, an ICNA-MAS official who organized their conference in December, has republished posts on social media stating: “O Muslim, O servant of God. There is a Jew behind me, come kill him.”
Despite its long history of extremism, in 2016 ICNA received $1.3 million of taxpayers’ money as part of a grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security.
The US delegation headed by White House adviser Jared Kushner told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that there is no reason to freeze building in Judea and Samaria.
According to al-Hayat, Abbas requested the US pressure Israel to freeze Jewish building in Judea and Samaria either fully or partially. This, Abbas said, is one of the preconditions necessary for peace talks.
Kushner, together with US Special Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, told Abbas they have no intention of requesting Israel freeze building. This, they explained is for two reasons: 1) The talks must be held without preconditions, and 2) Israel has compromised much for the sake of the PA, but the PA has not taken steps to build confidence and has, in fact, acted in the opposite manner.
They also told Abbas that even though they believe the two-state solution is ideal, talks must be held without preconditions and the exact borders should be negotiated between the two sides.
The PA publicly praised the US delegation and said, “We appreciate the US’ activities to further peace and work with us towards that goal. However, this is a difficult and complex issue.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the United States that he will continue to pay terrorists’ families for terror attacks against Jews.
“I do not intend to cease paying salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs, even if it means I lose my position,” Abbas told Kan 11. “I will continue paying their salaries until my dying day.”
US Special Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt and US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Later, they met Abbas in his Ramallah headquarters.
The Zionist regime of Israel will not exist in 25 years, the Commander of the Iranian army, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Friday.
Speaking at a cultural event in the city of Qom and quoted by the Tasnim news agency, Mousavi stated that Iran will be the side which decides how to end a war, if one were to break out against the country.
Mousavi described Iran as a “symbol of resistance” against global hegemony, saying the world has now realized that it is impossible to try military engagement with Iran.
The Iranian general is hardly the only Iranian official to have threatened Israel. In December, the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Israel could be destroyed within 25 years through a united “Palestinian struggle”.
“The Zionist regime — as we have already said — will cease to exist in the next 25 years if there is a collective and united struggle by the Palestinians and the Muslims against the Zionists,” he said.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday called on the Security Council to address the Hezbollah terror group’s “weapons buildup’ in southern Lebanon, echoing comments made by the United States envoy to the UN.
“US Ambassador Haley is correct. UNIFIL cannot continue to remain blind to the weapons buildup in southern Lebanon and they must put an end to Hezbollah’s Security Council violations to ensure calm in our region,” Danny Danon said, referring to the UN force tasked with keeping the peace on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.
“I call on the Security Council to adopt a more robust UNFIL mandate that will address the serious security threats posed by Hezbollah,” he added.
Dannon’s comments mirrored those made Nikki Haley on Friday, in which she accused the commander of UNIFIL of of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah weapons smuggling.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Friday called for nuclear inspectors to be granted access to Iranian military bases, Reuters reported.
She urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to use all its authority to ensure Tehran’s compliance with the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015.
“I have good confidence in the IAEA, but they are dealing with a country that has a clear history of lying and pursuing covert nuclear programs,” Haley told a news conference after returning from a trip to Vienna, where the IAEA is based, according to Reuters.
”We are encouraging the IAEA to use all the authorities they have and to pursue every angle possible “to verify compliance with the nuclear deal,” she added.
Haley made her comments at the United Nations after returning from the visit to Vienna, where she met with IAEA as part of President Donald Trump’s review of the Iran nuclear deal made by former President Barack Obama.
Three months after indefinitely delaying the potential move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump has retained another core policy of preceding administrations by promising that annual American funding of $300 million to a UN agency that caters solely to Palestinian refugees will not be halted, Foreign Policy reported this week.
“Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has privately assured the UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, that the United States, which provides more than $300 million to the agency each year, will maintain its current levels of funding to the organization,” the journal reported. “‘America has long been committed to funding UNRWA’s important mission, and that will continue,’ said one official at the U.S. mission to the United Nations.”
Foreign Policy noted that the US pledge runs “contrary to the administration’s push to rein in spending on UN relief programs elsewhere. It reflects growing concern that the imposition of sharp cuts to Palestinian relief programs could thwart the White House campaign to restart Middle East peace talks, and inject further political instability in a region that stands permanently perched on the brink of political upheaval.”
The decision also puts the US sharply at odds with the Israeli government. While Israel has historically recognized the stabilizing role played by UNRWA in providing key services to the 750,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants — who now number around five million people — more recently, it has urged that the agency be dissolved into the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which caters to the remainder of the world’s current 65 million refugees.
Canada announced on Thursday it will donate up to $25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works (UNRWA) which helps so-called “Palestinian refugees”, its Minister of International Development and Marie-Claude Bibeau said on Thursday.
B’nai Brith Canada expressed concerns over the move, saying it would share those concerns with the Canadian government.
“Palestinian refugees deserve the right to be able to go to a school, receive proper health care and get other basic services. Canada’s renewed engagement is part of our long-standing commitment to a more peaceful and stable region,” Bibeau said on Thursday in a statement quoted by the Sputnik news agency.
The bulk of Canada’s aid package to UNRWA — $20 million — will go toward helping UNRWA provide basic education, health and livelihood needs for millions of Palestinian refugees, particularly women and children, the statement said.
The remaining $5 million in assistance will go toward UNRWA’s Syria Emergency Appeal, which provides life-saving assistance to more than 480,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon, added Bibeau.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein called on United High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein not to disseminate an anti-Israel “blacklist” of businesses in Judea and Samaria harming Jews who live or own companies in the area.
The blatantly discriminatory “blacklist” was compiled pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in March 2016. It ignores the thousands of Arab families in Judea and Samaria who are employed by the Israeli businesses.
At the time the resolution was passed, the Conference of Presidents leaders called it “a further stain on the legitimacy of the Human Rights Council.”
This resolution “stands as yet another insult to the millions of victims of human rights violations around the world whose desperate plight the Council has neither the inclination nor the time to address because of its lopsided focus on Israel,” they said.
Greenberg and Hoenlein added that “the resolution is one of the most repugnant examples of the Council’s abusive manipulation of human rights principles to target Israel and should be repudiated.”
This summer, the Chinese navy set up a naval base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa—Beijing’s first-ever overseas naval base. Its location atop the Mandeb Strait, between Yemen and Africa, allows China to guard a waterway that is crucial for both its oil imports and its exports to Europe. Gideon Elazar comments:
The establishment of the base follows several years of increasing Chinese involvement in Africa and the Middle East. . . . The Chinese vision of a new maritime Silk Road is closely related to the official celebration of Zheng He, the early 15th-century [Muslim] admiral who brought China fame and power through his voyages in Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean to Africa. . . . Zheng He’s voyages are frequently noted as a symbol of a world order based on trade rather than violence and controlled by the benevolent hegemony of the Chinese imperial court.
In Chinese publications of recent years, Zheng He’s fleets are glorified as a tool of regional economic growth, scientific research, peaceful cultural exchange, and universal friendship. It is worth noting that while Zheng He’s voyages collected treasures (such as the famous giraffe brought back for the Imperial Court from Africa), its main objective was to display the Ming dynasty’s power and dominance and to collect tribute from local rulers. Indeed, a number of rulers who refused to recognize the hegemony of the Chinese emperor were punished and taken back to China as prisoners.
Zheng is particularly poignant as he is often perceived as both a testament to Chinese greatness and a symbol of China’s missed opportunities. The dismantling of his ships and shipyards by the Ming emperors is widely perceived as one of the causes of the gradual decline of Chinese power and the eventual rise of the West. The reference to Zheng He and the Silk Road can therefore be seen as implying that the mistake made 500 years ago is now being corrected, as the Middle Kingdom returns to its former centrality.
Israel’s security services last month recorded 222 terrorist attacks against Israelis, the highest number in any month since December 2015.
The attacks resulted in the killing of five Israelis, two soldiers and three civilians, and the wounding of seven, according to the Israel Security Agency’s monthly report on July, published earlier this week.
The tally for July was more than double the 94 attacks recorded in June and nearly double the average of 121 attacks per month from January 2016 onward. The Israel Security Agency (Shabak) recorded a total of 2,314 attacks during that period, in which 33 victims died and 223 were wounded.
Last month was among the deadliest in that period in terms of terrorist attack fatalities, second only to November 2015 when terrorists murdered 10 Israelis.
The surge in attacks in July occurred after three Muslim terrorists murdered two Druze policemen on the Temple Mount.
Salah Hamouri, who served time for attempting to assassinate a leader and for his membership in a terrorist organization, was re-arrested on Wednesday, according to French media reports.
Hamouri, who is half-French, was arrested on charges of engagement with illegal political organizations in a pre-dawn raid on his home in east Jerusalem. He remains in police custody.
In 2005, Hamouri was arrested for planning to assassinate Ovadia Yosef, the founder of the ultra-orthodox party Shas, and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He remained in prison for three years before his trial, and then spent a subsequent five years in jail. He was one of the 1,027 prisoners who was freed during the 2011 prisoner exchange in which Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit returned home after five years in captivity in Gaza.
The French consulate in Jerusalem said they were reviewing the case closely with their associates in Paris. A diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also told a reporter at Le Monde that the consulate’s staff were working to provide consular assistance and legal representation to Hamouri.
Hamouri’s wife – who has been banned from entering Israel- posted a plea on her Facebook page asking France to “act with conviction in protecting and ensuring the release of [its] fellow citizen who once again is suffering from Israeli arbitrariness.”
The Palestinian Authority has suspended plans to force more than 6,000 of its employees in the Gaza Strip into early retirement, prime minister Rami Hamdallah said on Saturday.
The move was announced last month and seen as the latest attempt to squeeze the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza.
Many of the workers are in the health and education ministries, and aid officials are very concerned about the implications for the two million inhabitants of the impoverished coastal territory.
“We decided, in consultation with President Mahmoud Abbas, to allow education and health employees who were recently (asked) to retire early to continue their work in the ministry,” a statement from Hamdallah on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
It did not say whether all 6,150 employees would now be kept on, but said the decision had been taken to “ensure the provision of services to citizens in the strip”.
In a video released on Wednesday, ISIS for the first time used a child of purported US origin to openly threaten the United States.
The boy’s message seems to be a prepared speech, and mentions US President Donald Trump by name. In it, he warns that ISIS’ battle will “not end” in Raqqa or Mosul but rather “in your lands.”
“So get ready, for the fighting has just begun,” the boy emphasized.
According to ISIS, the 10-year-old boy arrived in Syria with his mother two years ago. His father, they claim, is a member of the US military and fought in Iraq.
None of these claims have been proven true.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the video was “depraved,” regardless of whether or not the boy is indeed a US citizen.
“It’s another example of how wrong and evil ISIS is,” she said.
In an interview with a sports outlet on Thursday, Lebanese-American porn star-turned sports blogger Mia Khalifa announced that she has been receiving death threats from ISIS.
Khalifa said that ISIS members have posted photos of her, bloodied and beheaded, on social media outlets. While she said the posts worry her, she doesn’t want to “show weakness…that’s exactly what they’re looking for.”
Khalifa is no stranger to threats and criticism. Estranged from her parents after she began her work in the porn industry, she has been the center of national scandals in Lebanon. Formerly the most popular star on the site PornHub, she has been denounced by politicians and private citizens alike.
She was born in Beirut and lived there until her family relocated to the United States when she was ten. Originating from a majority-Muslim country, her profession has earned her considerable scorn.
Khalifa, who is Christian, came under intense scrutiny for a sexual video in which she wore a hijab. Saying the scene was satirical, she said she was surprised about the anger that came from viewers.
As the Syrian regime reverses its military losses in much of the country’s strategically important west and foreign states cut support for rebel forces, diplomats from Washington to Riyadh are asking representatives of Syria’s opposition to come to terms with President Bashar Assad’s political survival.
With the country’s civil war more than halfway through its seventh year, Assad and his allies are now in control of Syria’s four largest cities and its Mediterranean coast. Helped by Russian air power and Iranian-sponsored militias, pro-government forces are marching steadily across the energy-rich Homs province to reach the Euphrates River valley.
Western and regional rebel patrons, currently more focused on advancing their own interests rather than on accomplishing regime change, are shifting their alliances and have ceased calling on Assad to step down.
“There is no conceivable military alignment that’s going to be able to remove him,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, now a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington.
“Everyone, including the U.S., has recognized that Assad is staying.”
This month, the peer-reviewed Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal released its latest issue, an event normally of little interest to laypeople. The volume featured a seemingly anodyne article entitled, “Evaluation of Road Safety Based on Geometric Design Consistency Using Smart Phone GPS.” But upon closer inspection, one of its authors stood out: The piece was co-written by Shahriar Afandizadeh Zargari, Reza Jalalkamali, and … Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad—the notorious homophobe, anti-Semite, Holocaust denier, 9/11 truther, and former president of Iran widely thought to have employed electoral fraud in his reelection bid—was credited merely as “a faculty member of Iran University of Science and Technology” whose “research interest focuses on road and transportation” with “20 years of experience in this field.” Ahmadinejad does indeed possess a doctorate in civil engineering.
Soon after the article appeared in print, however, it disappeared from the journal’s web site entirely. I reached out to ITE’s executive director, Jeffrey Paniati, and he explained what had transpired. “The article has been retracted from our electronic edition of the publication pending review by the ITE Board of Directors,” he said. “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s affiliation with the government of Iran was not identified when the article was submitted and the ITE leadership is reviewing our policies and procedures with regard to review and acceptance of articles for the ITE Journal. It will be a number of months before this review is completed.”
The retraction of Ahmadinejad’s piece comes amidst somewhat similar occurrences in professional settings in the United States, where individuals who marched in the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville have returned home only to be fired by their employers. Many seem increasingly unwilling to be involved with those who espouse hateful views, whether the person is a member of the alt-right or the former head of an oppressive regime.
The Arab people are living in Dark Ages; They’re not ready for democracy
Speaking on the Al-Jazeera network’s “Opposite Direction” talk show on July 11, Libyan expat Dr. Hadi Shalouf, a former member of the ICC, said that the Arab peoples are not used to democracy and are not ready for it. The other guest on the show, Syrian journalist Khalil Al-Miqdad, said that many of the Arab rulers had foreign roots and that the American invasion of Iraq was a conspiracy. “According to the Torah, Judaism, and the clash of civilizations, Israel can only survive if Iraq ceases to exist,” he said. Dr. Shalouf countered that the problem lies with the Arab peoples and that the internal crises plaguing the Arab world were local, not foreign, products. “We are living in the Dark Ages,” he said. “Our peoples need a long period of time in order to awaken from their slumber and lay the foundations [of democracy].”
A judge in Belarus cleared the way for the construction of apartments atop two former Jewish cemeteries.
Separately, unidentified individuals smashed 24 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Ukraine.
Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, in a statement wrote that the incident in Ukraine was discovered Tuesday at the Jewish cemetery of Svaliava in the country’s west. The incident was reported to police, who currently have no suspects.
Earlier this month, a mass grave was discovered during construction near the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Locals initially ignored the find because they assumed the bones belonged to Jews buried in a nearby cemetery, Radio Svoboda reported, but the works were stopped because the bones were thought to be of non-Jews purged by communist authorities.
On Monday, the Tsentralny District Court in Belarus allowed the planned construction of the apartments on the former Jewish cemetery in the eastern city of Gomel, saying it lacks the jurisdiction to take any action, Radio Svoboda reported.
The judge was ruling on a motion seeking an injunction against the construction filed by Yakov Goodman, a Jewish-American activist for the preservation of Jewish heritage sites in his native Belarus. Local authorities last year approved a project for the construction of two luxury apartment buildings on the grounds of a former cemetery on Sozhskaya Street.
A radical Muslim cleric who was convicted of stirring up racial hatred in Britain and deported to Jamaica was indicted Friday in New York on charges of recruiting would-be terrorists.
Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested in Jamaica.
Jamaica’s Ministry of National Security said that el-Faisal was arrested in the capital of Kingston and taken to his house in the nearby parish of St. Catherine, where police executed a search warrant. Authorities in Jamaica said el-Faisal is scheduled to appear later in court, although they did not provide a date. He is expected to be extradited to New York after his court appearance in Jamaica.
El-Faisal was arrested after a months-long sting carried out by an undercover New York Police Department officer who communicated with him by email, text and video chat.
According to the Manhattan district attorney, el-Faisal offered to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East and join fighters with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
In 1943, Columbia Pictures produced Hollywood’s first Holocaust film, None Shall Escape, which tells the story of Wilhelm Grimm’s transformation from likable schoolteacher to embittered World War I veteran to SS officer. After decades of obscurity, the movie has returned to circulation. Thomas Doherty describes the climactic scene, in which Grimm presides over the deportation of the Jews from a Polish village:
Shot in noirish night-for-night photography, the deportation sequence shows the Jews of the village, and a shipment from Warsaw, being herded into box cars for transport to what can only be a death camp, not a concentration camp; the wails of the terrified victims ring out on the soundtrack. Grimm orders the rabbi to quiet his people, but the man has no intention of facilitating the Nazi depredations. Richard Hale, the actor who plays the rabbi, would later accrue countless credits as a character actor in film and television, but he never again commanded a moment so powerfully as in this, his first screen role. Framed in close-up, with minimal cutaways, he delivers a searing indictment of anti-Semitism—and a rousing call to arms. . . .
The Jews, [inspired by his words], run from the box cars and attack their guards, but the cause is hopeless: in an extended and excruciating bloodbath, the rebels are mowed down by Nazi machine guns. After the massacre, the unbowed rabbi tells Grimm, “We will never die—it will be you, all of you!”
Grimm shoots him point-blank in the stomach, but the rabbi is a hard man to kill. As the camera scans the bodies strewn on the ground and in the boxcars, he stands up and recites kaddish over his people.
The movie ends with a courtroom scene, where an unrepentant Grimm is on trial for his actions:
Are you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how to produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them.
If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt.
Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research.
“Our findings may in the future be used to fortify a wide variety of crops with betalains in order to increase their nutritional value,” he said.
Betalain pigments also protect plants against gray mold, which annually causes crop losses worth billions of dollars. The Weizmann study showed that resistance to gray mold rose by 90 percent in plants engineered to make betalains.
Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem have developed a new method to monitor tumors without injecting patients with radioactive substances or exposing them to ionizing radiation. The method, reported in a study in the Nature Communications journal on Thursday, was developed by the director of the Center for Hyperpolarized MRI Molecular, Rachel Katz-Brull, and her team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Katz-Brull was able to show that using magnetic resonance imaging, the nucleus of a phosphorous atom can alert doctors to suspicious acidity levels in the body and hence to the existence of a possible tumor. The researchers used a special technique that allowed them to identify the nucleus more easily and more quickly, enabling it to appear to “shine” 10,000 times more brightly than normal.
“This diagnostic tool relates to the metabolic activity of the cells in a tumor or other in other tissue that may be suspicious,” Katz-Brull said. “It may provide a better way to determine whether tumors are malignant or benign and help test the efficacy of treatment.”
On the night of Rosh Hashanah, thousands of people will leave work, gather in congregations across the globe and worship God, the ruler of the world. Ten days later they will begin a fast and gather again to pray, this time atoning for their sins.
On both occasions they will praise Jesus Christ and pray for his return.
They are not Jews, nor are they Jews for Jesus. Rather, these congregants are members of an evangelical Christian movement called the Living Church of God. On the days Jews know as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, these Christians celebrate what they call the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement.
“We’re not trying to be Jewish,” said Dexter Wakefield, a Living Church minister and the church’s spokesman. “We’re obeying God’s commandments. The holy days have great meaning for the Christians who keep them.”
Living Church of God is one of a few evangelical groups that observes Christianity as it believes Jesus observed it, according to the dictates of the Hebrew Bible. That means no Christmas and no Easter — holidays the church rejects as pagan in origin. It also means that members observe their Sabbath like the Jews: from Friday night to Saturday night. The mainstream Christian custom of observing the Sabbath on Sunday, they believe, is another deviation from the authentic Christianity of Christ.
American comedian and talk show host Conan O’Brien, who arrived in Israel to film a television special on the country, posted a video of himself to Twitter “brushing up” on his Hebrew.
In the video, which he filmed in an airplane bathroom en route to Israel, O’Brien points to a number of objects in the lavatory in order to “prove” he is on an El Al flight.
Starting with the lid of the trash can, on which is written “towel disposal” in English, O’Brien points to the Hebrew letters and says “and you can see right here, going the other way, towel disposal.”
“I actually recognize that from the Old Testament when Moses tells his people to listen to the commandments and also dispose of your towels,” he quips.
“He was a real neatnick,” O’Brien says of Moses. “Dispose of those towels he said.”
It’s an operation that only takes one hour, but it allows hundreds of children to face the future with a smile.
That’s the contribution of two plastic surgeons from the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, who recently returned from Africa where they were on a mission to correct facial deformities in local children.
Doctors Omri Emodi, a craniofacial surgeon, and Zach Sharony, a plastic surgeon, were working in Ghana on a mission organized by Operation Smile, a US based humanitarian organization, along with a team of surgeons and medical staff from 12 countries.
“If a child has a facial deformity, it can affect eating, drinking, speaking and, of course, his or her own self-image,” explained Emodi. “You walk with a sign on you, especially in Africa. You could easily be an outcast.”
Their patients ranged in age from a few months old to young men and women in their 20s. They came from all over Ghana, some as far as 500 miles away. Most of the operations were on cleft lips and palates, while others dealt with more complex surgeries on facial deformities
Guy Stern’s on-the-job training began 10 minutes after he landed at Omaha Beach — one of the Allied entry points into Normandy in 1944.
Three days earlier, the Allies had invaded Normandy on D-Day. The first German prisoner Stern, a recent graduate of an US Army interrogation training program, questioned was a sergeant from an artillery unit.
“I started asking questions: ‘Where is your company located?’” recalled Stern. Today 95, Stern still works at the Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan, after an illustrious career in higher education. “He refused to talk. My feelings were that I was a failure.”
Then “an artillery shell [came] over,” said Stern. “We both hit the ground… After the shell explosion, there was a bit of dust. I got up immediately and told him to get up.
“He, of course, as an experienced soldier, [knew that if there was] one artillery shell, there was no reason not to think a second or third would follow. He must have been under the illusion that I was a death-defying soldier. He got up.”
Stern noted that “the fact that I was so ‘courageous,’ as he thought, was nothing more than inexperience. He was still lying on the ground… He got up again, and started answering the questions. I [thought to myself], ‘OK, you can do your job.’”
Stern and his fellow program graduates did their job in unique circumstances: They were German and Austrian Jews who had escaped the Nazis for the United States. Many of them, including Stern, left behind cherished family members. After World War II broke out, they used their knowledge of German language and culture as US army interrogators.
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