Melanie Phillips: The blood of slain Israelis stains many hands
It’s often claimed by Western enemies of Israel that the military actions of the Israel Defense Forces against Hamas in Gaza are disproportionate because such actions kill Arabs while Hamas attacks don’t kill Israelis.
That’s apparently why the Western media ignore the thousands of rockets and aerial firebombs launched from Gaza to kill the residents of southern Israel, reporting instead IDF military action to stop such attacks as the wanton killing of civilians.
When an Israeli actually is murdered by an Arab in cold blood, however, this isn’t reported as wanton killing of the innocent, if he happens to be the wrong sort of Israeli. Then it’s suggested his murder is his own fault.
The killing of American-born Israeli Ari Fuld on Sept. 16 has caused an outpouring of grief in Israel. The impassioned eulogies to him poured out not just because his wife, four children, parents and the rest of his family have been so cruelly bereaved.
It’s because he was a brave and outstanding fighter for Israel and the Jewish people, and admired even by his political opponents on account of his warm nature. He devoted his existence to fighting a great evil to which he has now lost his own life.
The Western media, however, don’t count Ari Fuld as a victim at all because, as a resident of the Judean town of Efrat, he was a “settler.”
Caroline Glick: How Israel defeated the PLO
The so-called “Oslo process,” is really two processes. The first was the Oslo peace process. It began with secret negotiations between Israeli leftists with ties to then-foreign minister Shimon Peres in Oslo, Norway, in 1993. It led to Israel’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the establishment of the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority to run the Palestinian autonomy in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It also led to a seven-year attempt by Israel to make peace with the PLO.
The peace process, was the brainchild of the Israeli Left. It was predicated on the notion that without the PLO there can be no peace. And without peace, based on territorial concessions, Israel has no hope of surviving, let alone prospering.
The Oslo peace process failed in July 2000 when the PLO rejected peace and statehood.
The failure of the Oslo peace process was followed quickly with the initiation of the Oslo terror war by the PLO-PA and its partners in Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Its goal was to demoralize Israeli society and foment a collapse of Israel’s national will to reject the PLO’s maximalist demands, which in turn would lead to the eventual destruction of Israel.
To a large degree, the Oslo war ended in 2004 when Israel secured its control over the Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria and killed Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza.
The Israeli Left never accepted the failure of the Oslo peace process. And the PLO-PA never abandoned its efforts to destroy Israel – in the name of peace and justice.
The refusal of both the Israeli Left and the PLO-PA to own up to the failure of both Oslo processes, has engendered a strange symbiotic relationship between the two sides. No, of course the Left hasn’t joined or supported the PLO-PA’s terror war. To the contrary. There is little if any distinction in the positions of the Israeli Left and Right on the need to defeat Palestinian terrorism.
Mordechai Kedar: The American government confronts the PA house of cards
In essence, with the moves he has taken against the PLO and PA, Trump is intimating that he has done his part, and now wants to know what Israel is going to do to put the PLO and PA where they deserve to be. Is Israel going to continue giving artificial respiration to these dead bodies? Is Israel going to continue keeping the hallucinatory agreements with terrorists signed by people like Peres and Beilin? Or is it going to join Trump and begin thinking rationally?
The Palestinian issue has direct bearing on the Iranian problem, because Trump is surely asking himself: If Israel, justifiably, is constantly warning about the danger facing it from Iran, how does it allow a terrorist organization to control the mountains overlooking Israel from Dimona and Beer Sheva in the south all the way up the coastal plain to Afula and Beit Shean in the north? Every schoolchild knows that the Palestinian Arabs will launch rockets against Israeli communities as soon as they are able to. Isn’t there a contradiction between Israel’s vehemence against Iran and its attitude towards the Palestinians? And if Israel creates dangerous situations for itself, why should America act against Iran and the agreements signed with that country?
It seems that the proverbial penny has dropped in Washington and the US government has begun behaving rationally with regard to the delusionary Palestinian State, putting it out to dry economically and ending decades of keeping it alive by artificial means. The Palestinian State can now find its rightful place in the history books as another march of folly.
The only problem is that all this is reversible and a different US government can easily turn back the clock and begin pressuring Israel to leave Judea and Samaria in favor of a judenrein Palestinian Arab state. Israel, therefore, must take advantage of the Trump era by creating a new reality, one that is almost impossible to change or dismiss: Israel must cancel the Oslo Agreements and all the others that followed those Accords, knock down the Palestinian house of cards, send the criminals it brought from Tunisia back to where they came from, starting with Mahmoud Abbas and his sons – and create independent emirates in every Arab city in Judea and Samaria run by local clans and their natural, local leaders.
Israel must remain in the village areas forever and offer Israeli citizenship to those living in those areas who make up about 10% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
This is the only solution based on local sociological reality. Only this solution can bring stability, growth and peace to the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, security to Israel. This is the solution to which Trump’s steps can lead.
Yisrael Medad: Jewish Palestine Refugees – I Am Corrected
According to a new book mentioned in the JPost, the number is at least 60,000 Jewish refugees.
The book, published in Hebrew, is titled “Jewish Refugees in Israel’s War of Independence” and is authored by Nurit Cohen-Levinovsky who holds a PhD in history and heads the Educational Department at the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Center in Tel Aviv.
As David Shayne notes,
according to Dr. Levinovsky, some 97 Jewish villages were attacked and damaged: 11 of these were destroyed entirely, 6 were conquered and lost – until after the 1967 Six Day War, when those conquered were re-established…Fully one quarter of Jerusalem’s Jews fled, mostly to the relative safety of the coastal plain.
Jerusalem’s Jewish population numbered 100,000 in 1948.
I stand corrected.
But I correct the record: as a result of the Arab terror ethnic cleansing campaign of 1920-1947, the true number of Jews who became refugees during the Mandate era, even if UNRWA limits the term “refugee” to the 1946-1948 period, is several thousands more, as we need include those who were driven out of Hebron, Gaza, Shchem, Jenin, Jericho, Tul Karem and Jerusalem.
The exodus from the Old City began in 1920, increased after Nov. 1921, after August 1929 and then during 1936-39 all due to Arab rioting and terror.
We know the British forced Jews out too.
At the beginning of the 20th century, 20,000 Jews lived in the Old City. In 1948, 1700 were left.
Thousands of Jaffa’s Jews were forced out due to most of the same circumstances (in 1936, 10,000 Jews still lived in Jaffa. In 1920, 8740 Jews lived in Jaffa, by the British count, and that number increased until 1929.
Hundreds of Jews from Hebron.
Khaled Abu Toameh: For some Arabs, Ahed Tamimi is no longer an ‘icon’
Almost two months after she was released from Israeli prison for assaulting an IDF soldier, Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is rapidly losing her status as an “icon” and “symbol” of the Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.
Some Palestinians and Arabs now view the blond, photogenic 17-year-old from the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah as a controversial figure because of her statements and the widespread media coverage she has been receiving since her release from prison on July 29.
Others have even gone as far as accusing Tamimi of being an Israeli “agent” and meddling in the internal affairs of the Arab world.
This week, for example, Tamimi found herself at the center of controversy surrounding the ongoing Western Sahara conflict between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco.
During a visit to France last weekend, Tamimi appeared in a photo with Salah Eddin Medan, a member of Polisario, the rebel national liberation movement fighting since 1975 to end Morocco’s presence in the Western Sahara.
The photo enraged many Moroccans, who are now saying they regret having backed the campaign to support Tamimi after she was arrested and brought to trial for slapping an IDF soldier in her village last year.
The photo was taken during Tamimi’s visit to France, where she was guest of honor at the left-wing “Fête de l’Humanité” festival, which took place in Paris last weekend.
The fact that Israel allowed her to travel to France has also triggered a wave of speculation among Palestinians and Arabs. Some claimed that she travelled to France through Ben Gurion Airport – a privilege denied to most Palestinians.
Indeed, in a May 10, 1994 speech in South Africa—and in another one on Aug. 21, 1995 at Al-Azhar University in Cairo—Arafat compared his decision to participate in the Oslo process to deceptions that the Prophet Muhammad engaged in against rival tribes. Its purpose was for Arafat and the PLO—severely weakened by the fall of chief sponsor the Soviet Union—to rebuild, consolidate and then resume work towards Israel’s destruction. As he stated in a 1996 speech in Stockholm: “We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. … We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.”
The Oslo Diaries omits the PLO’s deceptions. Indeed, as the historian Efraim Karsh has noted, PLO official Faisal al-Husseini, who is briefly depicted in the movie, referred to Oslo in a June 24, 2000 interview as a Trojan horse “designed to promote the organization’s strategic goal: ‘Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea’—that is, a Palestine in place of the state of Israel.”
As Karsh wrote in his 2003 book Arafat’s War, Abu Ala—whose “diary” plays a key role in the “documentary” that depicts him sympathetically—said of Oslo: “We did not sign a peace treaty with Israel, but interim agreements that had been imposed on us.” At a public rally in Ramallah in 1997, Karsh noted, “Abu Ala demonstratively stepped over the remains of an Israeli flag that had been set on fire.”
In the movie, Arafat is even shown at the signing of the Gaza-Jericho agreement in military garb, with a patch on his left arm that depicts all of Israel as “Palestine.” But the filmmakers fail to ruminate on this.
Other reports on the Oslo anniversary, by The Washington Post, USA Today and NPR, among others, also failed to note the Palestinian leadership’s rejectionism and duplicity.
Instead, those watching The Oslo Diaries are presented with superficial history and images, such as Arafat’s July 1994 triumphal return to Gaza, a consequence of the accords. The Palestinian leader is shown leaning out the windows of his motorcade smiling and waving. The filmmakers want viewers to think it is a moment imbued with hope and promise. But no mention is made of the destruction that Arafat was bringing with him. As Karsh noted, “Arafat returned with Mamduh Nawfal, mastermind of the 1974 Ma’alot atrocity in which twenty-seven [Israeli] children were murdered, hidden in the trunk of his car.”
Almost every day brings new evidence that the New York Times cannot be trusted as an authoritative source about anything related to Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It has simply become a propaganda source, where history and current events alike are distorted and ordinary professional norms of objectivity are cast aside.
A case in point is the lengthy “analysis” of the controversial Oslo peace process that appeared on the front page of the newspaper on September 13, 2018, entitled “25 Years After Handshake, Mideast Peace Seems Remote as Ever.”
Written by Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger and longtime Jerusalem-based correspondent, Isabel Kershner, the account is crude in its distortions of history, falsehoods, and contradictions. A conspicuously disproportionate number of quotes are invoked to attack and denounce Israel while the single most important factor that determined the fate of Oslo – i.e. the repeated Palestinian rejection of Israeli peace offers that would have given them a state was concealed. Instead, readers were offered a nearly 2000+ -word indictment of Israel as the oppressor of blameless Palestinians.
Similarly, the anti-Israel, annihilationist aggression expressed in word and deed by Palestinian leaders is virtually invisible in the article about the demise of the Oslo accords. (Indeed, in keeping with its habit of downplaying, concealing or deflecting attention from Palestinian terrorism, the New York Times published no articles about the stabbing murder of an American-Israeli civilian by a Palestinian terrorist that occurred just days after this analysis was published.)
Below is just a small sampling of the Times’ Orwellian account of Oslo.
When the American Studies Association boycott of Israel was announced, over two hundred college presidents or provosts properly and publicly rejected it. But even they might not have imagined that the boycott was more than a symbolic gesture. Thanks to Professor Cheney-Lippold, they now know that it involves actions that disserve their students. Yes, Cheney-Lippold now says he was mistaken when he wrote that “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel.” But he is hardly a lone wolf in hyper-politicized disciplines like American Studies, Asian-American Studies, and Women’s Studies, whose professional associations have taken stands in favor of boycotting Israel. Administrators looking at bids to expand such programs should take note of their admirably open opposition to the exchange of ideas.
Cheney-Lippold, like other boycott defenders, points to the supposed 2005 “call of Palestinian civil society” to justify his singling out of Israel. “I support,” he says in comments to the student newspaper, “communities who organize themselves and ask for international support to achieve equal rights, freedom and to prevent violations of international law.” Set aside the absurdity of this reasoning (“Why am I not boycotting China on behalf of Tibet? Because China has been much more effective in stifling civil society!”). Focus instead on what Cheney- Lippold could have found out by Googling. The first endorser of the call of “civil society” is the Council of National and Islamic Forces (NIF) in Palestine, which includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that trade not only in violent resistance but in violence that directly targets noncombatants.
That’s remained par for the course for the boycott movement. In October 2015, in the midst of the series of stabbings deemed “the knife intifada,” the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel shared a call for an International Day with the “new generation of Palestinians” then “rising up against Israel’s brutal, decades-old system of occupation.” To be sure, they did not directly endorse attacks on civilians, but they did issue their statement of solidarity with “Palestinian popular resistance” one day after four attacks that left three Israelis–all civilians–dead.
The boycott movement, in other words, can sign on to a solidarity movement that includes the targeting of civilians for death, but cannot sign letters of recommendation for their own undergraduates if those undergraduates seek to learn in Israel. That tells us all we need to know about the boycott movement. It was nice of Cheney-Lippold to tell us.
In that same month, BDS leaders boasted that they’d managed to get Israel to agree to hold the show in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. According to the pro-Palestinian site Electronic Intifada, Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev had insisted at first “that Eurovision be held in Jerusalem or not at all,” but had eventually backed down. This claim was contradicted by a statement, earlier this month, that Eurovision officials were still evaluating bids by both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. On September 12, it was announced that Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat had all presented impressive bids to host Eurovision 2019, but that the Eurovision poobahs had settled on Tel Aviv.
As it happens, five days earlier, on September 7, the Guardian had published a letter signed by dozens of “artists from Europe and beyond” who declared their support for “the heartfelt appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hosted by Israel” and insisted that “[u]ntil Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights,” and that therefore, “the European Broadcasting Union…should cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record.”
The names of the signatories, who identified themselves variously as “singer,” “producer,” “actor,” “director,” “cartoonist,” “street artist,” and so on, and who hailed not just from a range of European countries but also from the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and (yes) Israel, were mostly unfamiliar to me, although a few of them – almost all Brits – were quite famous: 78-year-old Oscar-winning actress Julie Christie, playwright Caryl Churchill (whose 2009 drama Seven Jewish Children was chided by The Sunday Times for its “ludicrous and utterly predictable lack of even-handedness” toward Israel), musician Brian Eno (who has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing”), movie director Mike Leigh (a longtime Israel boycotter), movie director Ken Loach (who once said that “nothing has been a greater instigator of antisemitism than the self-proclaimed Jewish state itself”), and Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters (perhaps the most aggressive and obnoxious of all BDSers, who earlier this year declared that Israel is anti-Semitic).
The only American name I recognized was that of Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, that perennial favorite of Palestinian first-nighters. Notably, there were six Israeli signatories; after determining that none of them even had Wikipedia pages, I lost interest in trying to figure out who they were. At the Norwegian website document.no, Henrik Sundt helpfully pointed out that there hadn’t been the remotest hint of this kind of international protest when Eurovision was held in Russia (2009) or Azerbaijan (2012), both of which, needless to say, rate far below Israel when it comes to any objective “human rights record” (to borrow a term from the Guardian letter).
In any event, as of September 9, “at least 17 countries have already confirmed their participation in the Eurovision contest in Israel next year – including the Muslim-majority Azerbaijan.” Fine. Eurovision fans will doubtless have a whale of a time in Tel Aviv. Still, it’s interesting to note that while the Trump administration had the nerve to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Eurovision authorities didn’t even have the guts to schedule next year’s Eurovision in the same city in which it had already been held not once but twice – before, that is, the poison of the BDS movement came along.
On Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s top gay rights lobby, held its 22nd annual dinner. Top speakers included Joe Biden, who bemoaned the lack of acceptance for gay people, Anne Hathaway, who shrieked, “Let’s tear this world apart and build a better one”, and Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, who declared, “The age of bullies and bigots is not fully behind us”.
Holder would know. He was last seen posing with Louis Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. The leader of the Nation of Islam is both a bigot and a bully. He also loathes gay people.
The HRC dinner was taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center concurrently with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards.
Holder’s boss, Barack Obama, had been caught posing with Farrakhan at a Congressional Black Caucus event. And multiple CBC members have refused to condemn Farrakhan. They include Rep. Danny Davis, who had called Farrakhan an “outstanding human being”. They also include Rep. Maxine Waters.
On Friday, the day before, Rep. Maxine Waters had received the National Leadership Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
The NNPA is an association of black papers that includes Final Call, the paper of Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Ford, GM, AT&T, Pfizer, AARP, Comcast, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation act as partners and sponsors of an association that includes a notorious racist and anti-Semitic hate group.
Ford had spent a long time trying to live down its past association with another anti-Semitic paper, The Dearborn Independent, only to end up associated with yet another violently anti-Semitic publication.
The HRC has its own extensive relationship with Ford. It has nothing to say about Ford’s NNPA role.
At the 2018 Black Press conference sponsored by the NNPA, which had previously honored Senator Kamala Harris, the First Place Feature Writing Award went to a Final Call article, “The Feminization of Black Men” which quoted Farrakhan’s claims that drugs were being used to turn black men gay.
Yom Kippur, though, does not commemorate “the corruption of the Jewish people” at Sinai, neither in the contemporary spirit of the holiday nor in the biblical or religious accounts, according to which the holiday marks not the date of Moses’s discovery of the calf, but rather his return after a subsequent trip up the mountain and his presentation to the Israelites of new tablets, representing their redemption and not their “corruption.” (Note that the slide’s reference to Associated Press is a photo credit — CNN seemed particularly drawn to images of Hassidic Jews — and does not indicate that the language is from AP.)
The author of the slideshow, CNN intern Christina Maxouris, might not know it, but the story of the golden calf plays has a prominent role in theological anti-Semitism. According to Leivy Smolar and Moshe Aberbach, the early Church held that the covenant between God and the ancient Israelites “had been abrogated at the very moment of its inception by the treacherous act of the Israelites who had rejected the proffered bond of God by their making and adoring the golden calf” (“The Golden Calf Episode in Postbiblical Literature,” Hebrew Union College Annual, 1968). The authors point, for example, to Stephen in the New Testament telling the Jews, “You are a stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears. You always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”
Why CNN editors published the intern’s piece trafficking in theology, let alone theological anti-Semitism, is unclear.
To CNN’s credit, the article was quickly corrected after CAMERA brought the issue to the attention of senior editors. Editors pulled the slide wrongly claiming Yom Kippur commemorates “Jewish corruption,” and the slide about the Jewish people’s “acts of murder, adultery and blasphemy,” and added a slide with a “clarification,” which downplays but at least acknowledges the changes:
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday that the New York Times knew the facts about curtains purchased for the ambassador’s residence and it still released a misleading story focused on her.
“They knew the facts, and they released the story anyway,” Haley told Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum.
The Times published a story on Sept. 13 that focused on Haley’s residence in New York City getting expensive curtains. The online headline of the story was “Nikki Haley’s View of New York Is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701” next to a picture of Haley. The story caused an immediate reaction from Haley’s critics, who blasted her for spending that much money on window treatments.
The problem with the the Time‘s framing was the curtains were ordered in 2016 as part of the work being done on the new official residence. The author explained later in the piece how Obama administration officials made the order as part of its work setting up the new residence. The article was changed and a note was added stating the original copy was “unfair.”
“I hadn’t even taken the job when these curtains were picked out. And so, the idea that this came out, we told the reporters that these were the facts,” Haley said.
“So you talked to the New York Times and said ‘this isn’t the case,’ and they printed it anyway?” MacCallum asked.
“They printed it anyway, and it was down in the story in like the seventh paragraph, down at the bottom,” Haley said.
A 94-year-old former SS guard faces trial in November charged with complicity in the mass murders at the Nazi concentration camp Stutthof during World War II, a German court said Friday.
The man from the district of Borken, who was not named, was a watchman at the Nazi camp near what was then the free city of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland.
He stands accused of complicity in the murders of several hundred camp prisoners between 1942 and 1945, said the regional court of Muenster more than seven decades after the end of World War II.
These included more than 100 Polish prisoners gassed to death on June 21 and 22, 1944, as well as “probably several hundred” Jewish prisoners murdered in the same way from August to December 1944 as part of the Nazis’ so-called “Final Solution” operation.
Prosecutors believe that the man “knew about the killing methods” at the camp and that the guards were a crucial part of the camp system.
French police said Thursday they had launched an investigation after anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on the door of a Paris apartment building.
“Jewish scum live here,” read the graffiti, on a building in the 18th arrondissement in the north of the capital. “Notably on the third floor,” it added on the other side of the door, above a drawing of a target.
A photo of the graffiti was circulating on Twitter Thursday, and a woman living in the building filed a formal complaint with the police.
By the end of the day, the local council had cleared the graffiti away, but traces were still visible on the door Thursday afternoon, an AFP journalist noted.
The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter to condemn what she described as “this abject act” and sent her support to the Jewish community.
Yad Vashem has publicly criticized a new Holocaust museum in Hungary, known as the House of Fates, which is slated to open next year.
The museum is being built by the Hungarian government at a cost of over 28 million euros, but is being formally transferred to the ownership of the Chabad EMIH Jewish federation in the country.
The government announced this decision during a press conference earlier this month just before Rosh Hashanah together with head of the EMIH Rabbi Shlomo Köves and controversial historian Maria Schmidt who has directed the curation of the permanent exhibition of the House of Fates.
In light of this announcement, Yad Vashem has come out in public opposition to the museum, saying that it ignores anti-Jewish laws passed by the Hungarian government in 1938, the deaths of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in forced labor imposed by the government, and the participation of Hungarian authorities in the deportation of Hungarian Jewry to Auschwitz.
Köves said in response that EMIH had reached out to Yad Vashem in July to gain professional support from its historians in creating the museum’s content to ensure the historical validity of the House of Fates exhibitions.
He added Yad Vashem was not familiar with the current content of the museum, and that a senior advisor at Yad Vashem made an informal visit to the museum last week. Yad Vashem could not be immediately contacted to confirm this.
A fragment of a tallit has been discovered at the site of a former synagogue in the Lodz ghetto in Poland, stained with blood from a pogrom that took place on Yom Kippur in 1940.
According to Israel’s Channel Two, the foundation Shem L’Olam succeeded in bringing the tallit to Israel, where Rabbi Abraham Krieger, head of the foundation, said, “We are talking about a chilling and rare discovery. It bears witness to the Jewish life that existed in the ghetto and the unthinkable cruelty of the German murderers who had no mercy, and even on the holiest day for the Jews slaughtered, assaulted, and murdered in cold blood.”
In 1940, six months after the Jews of Lodz were confined to the ghetto, a makeshift synagogue was set up in a former movie theater. A large crowd gathered outside, but were beaten back by ghetto police. At the end of Yom Kippur prayers, the crowd swelled with Jews who had been unable to gain entrance to the synagogue. The violence intensified and Jews both inside and outside the synagogue were attacked by Nazi troops and ghetto police.
The tallit is not the first such discovery made at the site. During renovations, prayer books and holy objects were found beneath the floorboards.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will pay tribute to Holocaust victims at the Vilna ghetto memorial.
Nazi Germany all but obliterated the once-vibrant Jewish community of the capital, known as the “Jerusalem of the North.”
“We feel honored by the pope’s visit — no matter that we have different religions — and appreciate that he will honor the victims exactly 75 years after the ghetto was liquidated,” community leader Faina Kukliansky told AFP.
“I believe his thoughts will also be with the Christians who saved Jews, including those who saved my family.”
Around 200,000 Lithuanian Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and local collaborators under the 1941-44 German occupation — nearly the entire Jewish population.
Today there are only around 3,000 Jews left in the EU and NATO member state of 2.9 million people.
When the Argentine-Jewish filmmaker Pablo Solarz was 5 or 6 years old, he asked his grandfather if he was Polish.
On the phone recently, in heavily accented English, he described his grandfather’s reaction.
“He gave me a very dead face,” Solarz recalled. “My father said that [Polish] is a very bad word, and I don’t want to [talk about] it with my grandfather again. My grandfather never wanted to talk about his life in Poland.”
Solarz’s grandfather didn’t spend time in a Nazi concentration camp, but he left his native Poland in the 1930s as conditions worsened for Jews. He settled in Buenos Aires and, over time, heard stories from the local Jewish community and the occasional news report about survivors who wanted to return to their roots and thank righteous gentiles who saved their lives.
That return narrative became the genesis of Solarz’s “The Last Suit,” a Jewish film festival favorite that opens September 21 in New York and September 28 in Los Angeles prior to a wider national release. The film tells the story of Abraham Bursztein, a Holocaust survivor who leaves Argentina to find his savior, who hid him in a basement following World War II. Bursztein is played by Miguel Angel Sola, a famous Argentine actor whose career dates back to the 1970s.
Russia nominated a film about the Nazi death camp Sobibor as its entry for the Academy Award for best foreign language film.
“Sobibor,” a multimillion-dollar production with state funding, centers on the 1943 escape by Jewish inmates from the camp under the leadership of Russian inmates. It was one of only two such occurrences during the Holocaust, with the other happening that same year in Treblinka.
The two-hour film features Konstantin Khabenskiy, one of Russia’s best-known actors, along with an international cast as well as unusually gory visuals. It is based on historical research of the history of the camp in Poland, where SS guards and Ukrainians murdered 250,000 Jews.
The Holocaust and anti-Semitism featured in the submissions of five other European countries: The Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland.
The Dutch submission is “The Resistance Banker,” based on the actions of Walraven van Hall, a banker who financed the resistance during Nazi occupation, including efforts to save Jews.
World-famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is on his first ever visit to Israel.
Ramsay posted over 10 videos of himself walking through the Old City of Jerusalem to his Instagram account. In videos he posted, he can be heard saying, “First time in Jerusalem, and this place is crazy – crazy!” and “Now we’re in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem. Beautiful, beautiful.”
While in Jerusalem, Ramsay visited one of the markets in the Old City as well as its Christian Quarter. He uploaded videos from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mosque of Omar, as well as other sites in the vicinity.
Ramsay is in Israel to film an advertising campaign for NICE Ltd., a Raanana-based high-tech company. He has already shot one video for the firm, which has garnered 2 million views since its release one week ago.
Known for his fiery temper, Ramsay first became famous hosting the TV shows “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares.”
Irish medical equipment giant Medtronic has acquired full ownership of Israel’s Mazor Robotics for $1.6 billion, the companies announced Friday.
Founded in 2001, Mazor manufactures robotic guidance systems for spinal surgery. The deal is part of Medtronic’s efforts to expands its leadership in this field.
According to financial news agency Bloomberg, the deal is expected to be finalized by Jan. 25.
Mazor has developed over 200 different systems and holds more than 50 patents worldwide. The company has offices in Israel (Caesarea), Florida (Orlando), and Germany (Munster).
Medtronic, based in Dublin, is one of the largest medical equipment companies in the world. It employs 86,000 people worldwide and provides services to doctors, hospitals and patients in 150 countries.
”Medtronic’s acquisition of Mazor strengthens Medtronic’s position as a global leader in enabling technologies for spine surgery, and drives Mazor Robotics’ vision to bring its core technology to the forefront of the global market,” the companies said in a joint statement.
In the summer of 1973, Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer, best known for writing “Jerusalem of Gold,” set out to write a Hebrew cover of the Beatles’ classic “Let it Be,” which frequently played on Israeli radio.
But when the Yom Kippur War broke out that October, the Beatles’ hit became what Shemer later called “a jumping-off point for an entirely new song.”
Shemer changed the lyrics to a prayer expressing hope for the battles to end and for IDF soldiers to return home peacefully.
The lyrics express longing for a better future, even when everything looks dark: “There is still a white sail on the horizon, facing a heavy black cloud.”
Shemer wrote the song for singer Chava Alberstein, who had wanted to perform it at an event for pilots’ wives.
“The Hebrew version that I prepared for her had no connection to the original, but was about the concerns and fears of the war that had broken out a day or two earlier,” Shemer later wrote of the songwriting process.
At first, she kept the Beatles’ tune, but her husband, Mordechai Horowitz, on a reprieve from fighting in the war said: “I won’t let you waste this song on a foreign tune. This is a Jewish war, and you should give it a Jewish tune.”
A handwritten draft of the lyrics in the National Library of Israel shows that Shemer originally wrote at the top of the page: “From the songs of the Beatles – A Hebrew version,” but changed it to “Music and Lyrics: Naomi Shemer.”
Ben Shapiro: Sukkot’s Blueprint for a New Home
At this moment, I can see the sky through the holes in my roof.
That’s not because I’m celebrating the holiday of Sukkot early. It’s because for several years, our roof has been leaking, and we’re now having it replaced. Lacking a roof makes you feel vulnerable. It makes you feel as though the elements are suddenly a part of your life that they simply weren’t before. It makes you worry every time the skies grow cloudy and it annoys you every time the weather gets too hot.
Lacking a roof makes you unhappy.
By contrast, the holiday of Sukkot is always a joyous time. It’s particularly joyous with children, as I’m now learning: their wonder at the beauty of the sukkah, their happiness in decorating it, their excitement at running out each meal to dine in it. What makes the sukkah so special, in contrast to your house lacking proper covering?
It’s the feeling that the impermanence is temporary. Soon enough, you’ll be able to go back in your house and live under a roof again. You’ll be able to feel the stability and protection of living in a home. Were Sukkot indefinitely long, it would be a difficult holiday.
That’s the message of Sukkot. Our world is the sukkah; our home is the broader sphere of the spiritual realm. In our sukkah, we rely on God to ensure that we’re not subject to the elements — we can protect ourselves to the best of our ability, but we’re never going to be able to avoid the vicissitudes and difficulties of life. But our lives are a mere moment in time, a time filled with great pleasure and great pain. Before and after our lives lies a fundamentally different eternity: solid and permanent, predictable and understandable. That is the promise of Sukkot.
What does this say about our politics? Something similar.
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