Seth J Frantzman: Iraq blames Israel for airstrikes, why now?
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Monday said that “investigations into the targeting of some Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) positions indicate that Israel carried it out,” marking the first time he has spoken so clearly about a series of mysterious attacks since July that have targeted munitions facilities of the PMF.
Previously, voices in Iraq have sought to blame Israel but have been reticent to do so clearly. Elements within the PMU – a group of mostly Shi’ite militias, some of which are closely tied to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – have instead held the US responsible, claiming the US allowed Israel to carry out the attacks.
So why would Abdul-Mahdi, who faces many challenges at home, decide to blame Israel now?
It appears that the Iraqi prime minister is blaming Israel at this juncture, because he is being targeted for criticism for removing a key member of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), Lt.-Gen. Abdul Wahab Al-Saadi, who was a popular deputy commander of the CTS – Iraq’s most elite unit – and who played a key role defeating ISIS.
However, he was suddenly sidelined last week and the prime minister is being criticized across the political spectrum. However Abdul-Mahdi’s office has said the decision is irreversible and insisted that Al-Saadi must adhere to it.
In addition, rumors have been spread against the commander, suggesting he visited foreign embassies. Abdul-Mahdi sought to blame the CTS for the decision on Monday, suggesting that the chief of staff wanted Al-Saadi out of the way.
The Iraqi prime minister has said that “no one wants war in the region except for Israel.” However, a large context looms. He was recently in Saudi Arabia and is now supposed to travel to Iran.
Iran’s IRGC head Hossein Salami spoke on Monday, threatening to destroy Israel. In addition Iran’s Tasnim is taking credit for getting the US to re-position air force assets away from Qatar, claiming its drones scare the Americans.
One of Germany’s leading commissioners tasked with combating antisemitism has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal to protect Israel’s security and instead impose sanctions on Tehran.
“The current escalation with Israel should be reason enough for Germany to advocate the…. Iran nuclear agreement, which has been undermined by Iran… [as] dead, and for the necessary sanctions against Tehran to become effective again in their entirety,” Uwe Becker, commissioner of the Hessian federal state government for Jewish life and the fight against antisemitism, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Becker said Germany’s national interest in a secure Israel is “above possible economic interests” rooted in the Iran deal.
“If Germany takes its reason for state [raison d’État] seriously, it must immediately freeze its relations with Iran and thus send a clear and unequivocal signal to the Iranian leadership,” Becker said. “It is not a question of a policy against the Iranian people, who are even deprived of important freedom rights by their own government, but of a clear position towards the political leadership in Tehran.”
Becker, who is a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, is the first antisemitism commissioner in Germany to urge the chancellor to pull the plug on the accord and re-impose economic sanctions against Iran.
Merkel delivered a speech to the Knesset in 2008 in which she declared Israel’s security interests to be part of Germany’s raison d’État.
At the time, the chancellor said that Israel’s security is “non-negotiable” for her government.
Apparently, the Palestinians believe that they have a “right” to free electricity — even if that leads to the collapse of their own electric company.
This conviction is in keeping with the longstanding Palestinian perception that someone else — preferably Israel and Western donors, but basically anyone else — should pay their way in the world, particularly their electricity bills.
Palestinian officials are using the electricity issue to incite not only the international community against Israel, but also their own people. These officials are telling Palestinians that Israel is seeking to punish Palestinians for no good reason, and that their anger should be directed against Israel, not against the electricity thieves or the Palestinian leadership.
The controversy surrounding the unpaid electricity debts is yet another example of the Palestinians’ unceasing search for ways to blame Israel for self-inflicted miseries. Instead of assuming responsibility for the electricity theft and unpaid bills and taking punitive measures against the offenders, the Palestinians are doing what they do best: trying their utmost to convince the world that it is all Israel’s fault.
Leading Austrian lawmakers have vowed they will declare the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting Israel as antisemitic during the next legislative session.
“We hope that words will be followed by deeds and that… there will soon be a parliamentary resolution,” wrote the organization Jewish-Austrian Students, which hosted the politicians at its event in Vienna earlier this month.
In response to a question at the event from college student Noah Scheer, who asked if the Austrian parliament will replicate the May decision of the German Bundestag to classify BDS as antisemitic, the MPs pledged to do so.
Sibylle Hamann from the Green Party compared BDS to the Nazi-era “Don’t buy from Jews” campaign. She said the Nazi slogan “resonates” with the BDS campaign.
The other Austrian MPs present were Pamela Rendi-Wagner (Social Democrats), Wolfgang Sobotka (People’s Party), Helmut Brandstätter (NEOS), and Peter Pilz (JETZT).
In 2018, Vienna’s city council passed an anti-BDS resolution, which unanimously proscribed the organization as antisemitic and banned support for “events that advertise for BDS.”
However, the national parliament has yet to pass a similar resolution.
Our Prime Minister has been outspoken about the need for social media companies to stop the spread of violent and inciting material. Particularly in the wake of a terror attack on New Zealand soil, this would seem to be an indication that our government takes terror seriously.
However, some actions and inactions from Kiwi officials and representatives suggest a different mindset.
Rockets are still being fired from Gaza and the “March of Return” riots continuing on the border. Hamas is responsible for the Gaza strip and these attacks. There are also increasing tensions with Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon. And Arab Palestinians from Judaea and Samaria have stabbed and blown up Israelis in the past few months, alone.
And there has been no condemnation of any of the terror attacks against Israelis.
In fact, New Zealand officials have been silent about terror against Israel for many years. The last time a Kiwi Minister clearly condemned terror against Israel was in 2006, by Prime Minister Helen Clark.
There has not even been a comment on the incitement to violence perpetrated by Hamas and Fatah on social media.
But, even worse than the silence from our politicians in the face of incitement and acts of terror is the fact that neither Hamas nor Hezbollah are listed as terror entities by New Zealand. In contrast to our traditional allies – Canada, USA, Australia, UK etc – New Zealand only proscribes the “military wings” of the respective terror organisations.
New Zealand maintains the distinction despite even the leaders of Hezbollah saying such a distinction is wrong. Similarly, a distinction between military and political “wings” of Hamas is ridiculous when a member of the Hamas politburo recently urged members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world and two Hamas Police officers recently killed in Gaza were also members of the “military wing”.
A Palestinian teenager was arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday after a knife was found in his bag.
A police statement said the knife was discovered as the 15-year-old passed through a security checkpoint at the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site.
Pictures showed the knife among the textbooks in the Palestinian’s backpack.
The teenager was taken for further questioning.
The flashpoint city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers who are guarded by Israeli troops, has been the scene of numerous stabbings and attempted stabbings in recent years.
Monday’s arrest came as police heightened their presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank for the High Holidays, which began Sunday evening with Rosh Hashanah.
The terror group allegedly behind a deadly attack at a West Bank natural spring warned on Sunday it would “open the gates of hell” if a key suspect in the bombing dies after being seriously injured during an Israeli interrogation.
“We hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of the Palestinian prisoner Samer Arbid and his comrades, and we assure that by endangering their lives, the occupation will open the gates of hell,” the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement.
The PFLP also called on the Palestinian public to carry out further violence “in support of our valiant prisoners, our soldiers on the front lines.”
Arbid, the suspected ringleader of a terror cell accused of carrying out a bombing attack last month that killed 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb and seriously injured her father and brother, was hospitalized Saturday in critical condition after an interrogation by the Shin Bet security service.
The Justice Ministry launched an investigation into the circumstances of the 44-year-old terror suspect’s injuries, specifically probing the degree of force along with the tactics used by the Shin Bet interrogators.
The Joint List has written a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, requesting that he look into torture claims following the hospitalization of Samer Mina Salim Arbid, according to i24News.
Arbid, who is currently in critical condition at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, was arrested by Israeli authorities and is accused of setting up and detonating the IED that killed Rina Shnerb in August.
On Monday, Haaretz reported that the Israeli Justice Ministry opened an investigation into “potential wrongdoing” by officers of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
In the letter, the Joint List stated that, “torture and brutal and inhumane treatment of prisoners stand in direct contrast to international law and principles of human rights,” Ynet reported.
The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry on Tuesday said it wanted Israel to allow it to examine a terror suspect who is in critical condition after being interrogated by Israeli authorities, according to Palestinian media.
The Safa Palestinian Press Agency reported that the ministry had appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross and said it wanted a medical team to be allowed to visit Samer Arbid, the alleged ringleader of the cell accused of carrying out the August terror bombing, which killed 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb and seriously injured her father and brother.
Arbid was hospitalized Saturday after an interrogation by the Shin Bet security service. The Justice Ministry has already launched an investigation into the circumstances of the 44-year-old terror suspect’s injuries, specifically probing the degree of force along with the tactics used by the Shin Bet interrogators.
The PA in its appeal claimed Arbid had been “severely tortured” by Israel. It said Israel had broken the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the suspect.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Monday warned Israel it bears responsibility for the life of Arbid.
“The Zionist occupation will pay the price for its crimes against the prisoners,” the head of the Gaza-ruling terror group was quoted as saying by the Kan public broadcaster.
“We’ll never abandon our prisoners. We’ll never leave them [as] trophies to the Zionist sadism and they won’t remain much longer behind the bars of the occupation,” Haniyeh said outside the Gaza headquarters of the Red Cross, according to the Walla news site.
Israel is quietly allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter from the Gaza Strip to conduct business and work menial jobs, apparently as part of understandings with the ruling Hamas terror group aimed at preventing a fourth war in the blockaded territory.
Israel effectively revoked thousands of work permits when it joined Egypt in imposing a crippling blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The blockade, along with three wars between Hamas and Israel, has devastated the economy in Gaza, where unemployment is over 50%.
Israel says the blockade is vital to prevent Hamas, an Islamist terror group avowedly committed to destroying Israel, from importing weaponry for use against the Jewish state. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, dismantling some 20 Jewish settlements and evicting 7-8,000 Jewish residents. Hamas ousted the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from the Strip two years later in a violent coup, and has retained an iron grip on Gaza ever since.
In recent months, Israel has quietly provided some relief as part of an unofficial, Egyptian-brokered truce with Hamas, in exchange for reduced rocket fire from the territory and the scaling back of weekly protests along the border. It has allowed Qatar to deliver millions of dollars in cash to allow Hamas to pay its civil servants and has allowed the United Nations to step up aid efforts.
Now it appears Israel has expanded a program in which it had long provided hundreds of permits to business owners to travel to Israel and the West Bank for commerce. Palestinian officials say it is now providing some 5,000 so-called merchant permits and awarding them to Palestinians working as laborers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing.
The Palestinian ruling Fatah faction has dismissed as “futile” a new initiative aimed at resolving its dispute with Hamas.
Fatah’s rejection of the initiative, announced by eight Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip last week, is seen by Palestinian political analysts as a setback to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to hold general elections.
During his recent speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Abbas said that upon his return to Ramallah, he would call for holding long overdue general elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Hamas and several Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad, have welcomed Abbas’s call for holding elections. They said, however, that before holding the vote, Fatah and Hamas need to implement previous “reconciliation agreements” they signed over the past 12 years.
The agreements, which call for holding presidential and parliamentary elections, were never implemented due to sharp differences and continued bickering between Hamas and Fatah over various contentious issues, including allowing the PA government to assume full control of the Gaza Strip.
The latest drive to resolve the Fatah-Hamas dispute was presented to the two sides by eight Palestinian groups: Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian People’s Party, Palestinian Democratic Union, Palestinian National Initiative, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, and Al-Sa’iqa (a pro-Syrian Palestinian Ba’athist group).
A county commission in southeastern Florida unanimously passed a resolution opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
The Broward County Commission passed the resolution at a meeting on September 24.
The commission said in the four-page resolution that it “opposes the BDS movement targeting Israel, including all efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel and efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in legal commercial activities,” and “urges Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations as the only way to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.
It also notes that “the BDS Movement effectively seeks to destroy the State of Israel as a homeland to the Jewish people, and seeks to establish one or two Palestinian-majority states.”
The Florida state legislature in 2016 passed an anti-BDS bill that prevents Florida state institutions from investing in or contracting with companies that boycott companies or products made in Israel. In April, the state legislature passed a bill that amends the state’s discrimination laws to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Reggae musician Ziggy Marley was among the artists honored last week at the second annual Ambassadors of Peace event held in Los Angeles by The Creative Community for Peace (CCFP).
The organization, founded by music executives Steve Schnur and David Renzer in 2012, works to support artists who perform in Israel and to counter the BDS boycott of Israel.
In addition to Marley, CCFP honored Warner Records CEO/co-chairman Aaron Bay-Schuck, Caroline Music/CMG president Jacqueline Saturn, Q&A and Atom Factory founder Troy Carter and Latin music manager Walter Kolm.
More than 400 entertainment industry execs attended the gala, held at the Los Angeles home of entertainment attorney and CCFP Advisory Board member Gary Stiffelman, Billboard reported.
Israeli-American billionaire businessman Haim Saban addressed the gathering, referring to Roger Waters, the public face of anti-Israel sentiment in the entertainment world. “We should make an effort to educate people who are against going to Israel, we should learn how to educate Roger Waters. Help them see the light. If we fail, we fail, [but] the misinformation is the fuel that pushes BDS forward,” he said, according to Billboard.
Tariq Ramadan, the prominent Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, is now under further investigation by police following more allegations of violent sexual assault.
Ramadan, a Swiss national, 57, has already been charged in France with raping a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012. The former Oxford University Professor of Islamic Studies denies all charges.
He has also been accused of participating in the gang-rape of a journalist in her 50s with one of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
Paris prosecutors earlier this month instructed the investigating magistrate handling the case to look into the evidence from “two new potential victims” over incidents that allegedly took place in 2015 and 2016, a judicial source told AFP, confirming a report in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Investigators took witness statements from the two women after they were identified from documents found on his computers. The women themselves have not filed a criminal complaint.
But they both say they were led into a brutal sexual relationship with Ramadan, one from November-December 2015 and the other in March 2016.
On Saturday, outside the Goethe Institute in London, a small group of Israel-haters representing the Islamic-run group Inminds express their hate for both Germany and the Jewish State.
With their ludicrous mind- and ear-assaulting delivery who do these fanatics expect to convert to their repellent cause?
Their warped arguments ate well-glimpsed in Alex Seymour/Seymour Alexander’s introduction to his footage:
‘Germany has yet again been cowered by intense pressure from Tel-Aviv and Washington into joining the Zionist campaign against BDS and into believing (or pretending to believe) the lie that it is somehow anti-Jewish to support the Palestinians’ demand for freedom and the return of their land and resources, stolen by the fascist State of Israel. Germany’s latest contemptible act of submission to the Zionist diktat is to withdraw the ‘Nelly Sachs’ literary prize, awarded to the renowned Pakistani/British author Kamila Shamsie, on the grounds that she is a supporter of the BDS movement. Shame on Germany. By sucking up to an evil Zionist regime in occupied Palestine today, Berlin thinks we will forget about what Germany did to the Jews between 1933 and 1945.’
Ahmed Masoud, a Palestinian playwright based in the UK, has been found to be in breach of data protection regulations following a stunt earlier this year. He had advertised that a play called “Obliterated” would be performed at Amnesty International’s headquarters on 9 August 2019, starring the actress Maxine Peake, with free tickets through Eventbrite.
However, there never was a play, and the personal information of over 2,500 people who had registered to see the play was misused to send out propaganda on behalf of Masoud and Peake, complaining about a theatre in Gaza that had been bombed by Israel earlier that year. According to Israel, the building was used by Hamas’s interior security unit.
Some of those who had booked tickets through Eventbrite were concerned that Masoud and Amnesty International now had their persona data. UKLFI advised them to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the misuse of their personal data in flagrant breach of the Data Protection legislation. Ambrosine Chetrit followed this up and the ICO has now found that Mr Masoud failed to comply with his data protection obligations.
Article 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation sets out key principles regarding the processing of personal data, which mean that data controllers must be clear with individuals about how their personal data will be used and then ensure that they do not then process it in ways those individuals would not reasonably expect.
In addition, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations set out specific requirements regarding electronic direct marketing, including by email. Consent is normally required to send direct marketing to an individual.
Appeal rejected . Posting a video about holocaust survivors and exposing twitter antisemitism is “hate speech” !! You couldn’t get so vile and stupid @YouTube. Time for action this has happened too many times . #antisemitic pic.twitter.com/pI9HAI0r0I
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) September 30, 2019
An extremist preached jihad on a UK-based Islamic TV channel despite being under house arrest with restricted access to the phone and internet.
The man – a notorious lieutenant of infamous hate preacher Anjem Choudary – called Eman Channel, a station available on Sky and Virgin, on at least 18 occasions to take part in TV phone-ins.
During one telethon to raise funds for Rohingya Muslims forced out of Burma, he argued that the way to help the refugees was by using violence rather than charity.
‘The solution brothers… we must go to jihad,’ he told the telethon presenters. ‘Part of the charity, we must go to jihad.’
The calls were made while the extremist, who can be identified only as IM for legal reasons, was subject to a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) order.
Under the TPIM he had to wear an electronic tag so his movements could be tracked, live in a police-designated house hundreds of miles from his home, adhere to a strict curfew, agree not to use the internet without permission and only make calls approved by the Home Office.
IM was a prominent figure in Al-Muhajiroun, the banned militant group led by Choudary.
A leader of a country that has the death penalty for “blasphemy,” a leader who says he is a proud antisemite and a leader who threatens to invade foreign countries have united to push for a TV channel that will “fight Islamophobia.” Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan met to propose a “BBC type English language TV Channel” that will “highlight Muslim issues,” Imran Khan said.
Khan tweeted that he met with his two counterparts on September 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The three decided to “jointly start an English language channel dedicated to confronting the challenges posed by Islamophobia and setting the record strait on our great religion.” It’s unclear when he says “our” great religion if he means including other Muslim groups, such as Shi’ites or Ahmadis, both of which are routinely the victims of attacks in Pakistan. Khan again tweeted about his meeting on September 30, claiming that this channel would be a “BBC type.”
However some have pointed out that the BBC has criticism, whereas it doesn’t seem this channel will have critique or varying opinions, rather it will be more like Al-Jazeera, RT or TRT, channels that tend to push progressive ideas abroad while being more nationalist, far-Right or conservative at home.
The model that Mahathir in Malaysia has perfected is to support antisemitism as “free speech” abroad while claiming “Islamophobia” should be stopped. Turkey has invaded part of northern Syria, causing more than 100,000 mostly Kurdish Muslims to be displaced in Afrin, and yet intends to support a channel about “Muslim” issues. It is unclear if that will include positive depictions of minority groups in Turkey such as Kurds and Alevis.
Holocaust historian Prof. Gideon Greif is pleading with Pope Francis, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others, to remove a plaque in Jerusalem’s Old City dedicated to the Croatian Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac.
The cardinal is a controversial figure in Balkan history because of his support for the World War II-era fascist Croatian Ustasha regime in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which perpetrated a genocide against Jews, Serbs and Roma in its territory during the war.
The plaque for Stepinac is located in the Austrian Hospice, the self-proclaimed first guesthouse for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem, which opened its doors in the Old City in 1863.
The church property was established with the help of Catholic authorities across the then-Austrian Empire, which included Austria, Hungary, and today’s Croatia, among other territories. The Catholic authorities involved in the founding of the hospice maintained ties with it by sending curators, priests, and pilgrims to the guesthouse in Jerusalem even after the collapse of the Empire and Hapsburg rule in 1918, according to church rector Markus Bugnyar.
A delegation of Croatian pilgrims approached the leadership of the hospice last year with the idea of having a commemorative plaque for the Croatian cardinal, says Bugnyar.
The plaque, written in Latin, sits next to the entrance of the chapel in the corridor outside, but within the overall building. Placed by a group called the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the plaque commemorates the pilgrimage of Stepinac to the Holy Land in 1937, before WWII. The pilgrim Stepinac, along with other Croatian pilgrims, stayed at the hospice, making him and his trip a part of the house’s history.
An Ohio man who identifies with the white nationalist movement was indicted in federal court for using a firearm while making threats against the Youngstown Jewish Community Center in a video posted on social media.
James Reardon, 20, of New Middletown, was indicted on Friday in US District Court with one count of transmitting an interstate communication threat and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio said in a statement.
“This defendant’s video demonstrated that he had access to weapons and he posed a threat to a Jewish community center. Law enforcement cannot wait to see if a shooting is going to occur, law enforcement must act quickly within the confines of the law to disrupt any potential violent act,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said.
Reardon previously pleaded not guilty to charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing in municipal court in Struthers, near Youngstown. The judge ordered a mental health evaluation and also for Reardon to stay away from synagogues and Jewish organizations.
The World Jewish Congress joined Sweden’s Jewish Central Council on Sunday in condemning the recent decision by the Swedish Center Party to proceed with a ban on circumcision, a press release on behalf of the WJC stated.
Noting that circumcision is “a central tenet of life and ritual for Jews and Muslims,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder argued that to make non-medically motivated circumcision in Sweden illegal, “is tantamount to decreeing an end to the future of [Jewish and Muslim] religious life in [Sweden].”
The Swedish Circumcision of Boys Act of 2001 already states that boys must be circumcised by a qualified medical practitioner, yet it does not deal with the question of what is the motivation of the act.
Jewish ritual circumcisers are currently licensed by the Swedish National Board of Health. When they carry out this religious duty on an 8-day-old boy, they are joined by a nurse or a medical doctor.
Currently led by Annie Loof, the Center Party is a liberal political party focused on issues of agriculture, gender equality and protecting the environment.
Loof said on Sunday while speaking to Swedish Radio that she “laments the decision,” and that the party leadership will examine how to proceed.
She further said that her party values religious minorities and “this is nothing we will petition parliament about.”
A Jewish cemetery was defaced on Saturday night in Buenos Aires.
The wall surrounding the cemetery was knocked down, multiple gravestones were smashed and many bronze tablets were stolen off the headstones.
Now the AMIA, a Jewish organization in Argentina, is calling on the municipality and the Ministry of Security of the Province of Buenos Aires to start an investigation into the incident.
The president of AMIA, Ariel Eichbaum, said, “On the eve of the arrival of the Jewish New Year, one of the most important moments of our community, these violent events, in a place so sacred at a religious level, with family tradition and cultural heritage, fill us with pain and consternation.”
He added, “We also request that prevention measures are immediately taken to ensure that they do not happen again.
More than 130,000 descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled en masse from Spain in 1492 have requested Spanish citizenship in the past four years, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday, hours after a deadline for applications expired.
About half of the 132,226 applications were submitted in the past month alone as the deadline drew near, it said. The bulk of applications came from Latin American countries, mainly Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.
For the past four years, Spain allowed the foreign Sephardim – old Hebrew for Spaniards – to apply to become Spanish nationals without giving up their current citizenship. They had to present proof of their Sephardic background through their surnames, language or ancestry.
The ministry said it would process all applications, including those without the legal certificates attached, which can be submitted later.
Around 300,000 Jews lived in Spain before the so-called Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand – whose reign saw the founding of the Spanish Empire – ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.
Spain has said it owes their descendants a debt of gratitude for spreading the Spanish language and culture around the world.
Most of the Jews expelled settled elsewhere in the Mediterranean and Middle East. In Israel, the Sephardim make up around a quarter of the population.
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