Melanie Phillips: The Jewish identity detective agency
Tzohar, headed by the inspirational Rabbi David Stav, is the Israeli rabbinical organisation which is challenging the monopoly of Israel’s ludicrously harsh and inflexible rabbinate by adopting, within halachah, a more humane, inclusive and rational approach.
So much is generally appreciated. What is less widely known is its extraordinary “roots” project.
This sets out to prove the Jewish antecedents of Israeli Jews whose families come principally from the former Soviet Union. To their horror, some of these Israelis discover they don’t possess the documentary proof that their families are halachically Jewish. And without that, they cannot get married in Israel.
Many couples only realise just before their wedding that they have this devastating problem. Working very fast, Tzohar unearths lost evidence to enable them to marry.
In its Shorashim forensic unit, Tzohar has created a kind of religious detective agency. Remarkably, its rabbis often need to resort to cloak-and-dagger operations to extract documentary proof from government and security forces’ archives in the former Soviet Union.
The challenges are formidable. The trail is often as complex as it is hidden. Under the harsh decrees of Soviet communism, many of these families ditched their Jewish identity to adopt a nationalistic one.
Grandparents, both in Israel and in the former Soviet Union, are a crucial source of information and leads. Racing against time before these elders pass away, Shorashim tries to reach them to obtain their testimony before it is even needed.
Edwin Black: Mennonites and BDS: A Lawsuit Amid a Legacy
Ellen Koontz, a Kansas contract schoolteacher, is asking a federal judge to re-affirm the anti-Jewish boycott campaign begun by Adolf Hitler on April 1, 1933, openly adopted shortly thereafter by the Mufti of Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Nazi alliance during the Holocaust, internationalized against the Jewish State after WWII by the Arab League in December 1945, made illegal in America by a 1976 amendment to the Tax Reform Act and a 1977 amendment to the US Export Administration Act, which governs commercial activity impacting foreign policy, reaffirmed by continuous Presidential Executive Orders, and re-labelled in recent years with glitter and violent disruption as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, otherwise known as BDS.
The IRS publishes specific reports explaining the criminal nature of anti-Israel boycotts by individuals or companies in commercial transactions as a function of foreign policy. In this vein, anti-BDS legislation has been adopted by more than 20 states, including Kansas. Koontz says Kansas Law HR 2409 infringes on her religious right to boycott Israeli Jews and those individuals and companies who do business with Israel.
So, Koontz sued—Koontz vs. Watson—to overturn the Kansas law and now seeks a temporary injunction of the enforcement of HR 2409. Watson disguises her purely political campaign as a religious duty handed down from the sixteenth-century, non-confrontational teachings of the pacifistic Mennonite religion.
Koontz has duped the court.
The Mennonite Church USA has abandoned its spiritual underpinnings and jumped from its religious exemption into the realm of political and racial bias.
JPost Editorial: Feting terrorists
Individuals linked to organizations that are on the European Union’s list of terrorist groups will no longer be allowed to address the European Parliament, according to its president, Antonio Tajani.
Tajani’s announcement comes after Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, addressed the EU Parliament in September.
Public outcry from a number of prominent Jewish organizations led the parliament to rethink its policy.
“We should not allow members of organizations involved in terrorist acts to speak inside the Parliament,” Tajani wrote to MEP Anders Vistisen, first vice chairman of the EU Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I have reminded the members of the European Parliament, as well as Parliament’s general secretaries, that every effort should be made to ensure that no listed person for representatives and entities mentioned in the council are invited or admitted to parliament nor promoted through event or audio-visual means,” he wrote.
It should be a no-brainer that the European Parliament should not legitimize a member of the PFLP.
And this is doubly true in the case of Khaled, who has a record of terrorist activity and continues to spout vicious lies against Israel. She received long standing ovations to her keynote speech in September, at an event titled “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Resistance.”
According to recordings provided by NGO Monitor, Khaled has compared the Gaza Strip to Auschwitz; has claimed the “Zionist regime” is worse than the Nazis; and has justified armed resistance against Israel.
The BDS debacle at the University of Michigan proved once again that Jews can be their own worst enemies.
Since 2002, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government (CSG) has, on 10 occasions, rejected resolutions to support the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the State of Israel.
This month, however, for the first time, the resolution passed, to much hand-wringing in the Jewish community.
The students who fought the resolution — sacrificing sleep, schoolwork and social lives — did absolutely everything they could, and are to be commended. And, after the resolution passed, the university’s administration immediately announced that, despite the vote, Michigan would not become the first school in the country to divest from Israel.
Just why did the resolution pass this time? Contributing factors included strong bonds forged between various “progressive” coalitions and anti-Israel students; a stacked CSG (the vice president and several other members were staunch supporters of divestment); and a pervasive know-nothingness that saw the anti-Israel crowd raucously cheer the decision to prevent Professor Victor Lieberman — a recognized expert in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — from speaking at the debate on divestment from Israel.
But what sealed the deal in favor of BDS were Jews — in two different flavors of radicalism.
Sadly, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has become an integral part of nearly every campus-based attack on Israel, and Michigan was no exception. Jarring, though unsurprising, was the op-ed from the University of Michigan chapter of JVP, published the day before the divestment vote, entitled “To fight white supremacy, support divestment.”
This, of course, is a blatant lie: The creation of the State of Israel was itself a historic triumph over a white supremacist regime that sought to destroy a people it considered racially inferior.
A German state has called on the federal government to prevent Kuwait Airways from taking off and landing in the county as long as it is allowed to ban Israeli citizens from flying with it.
The German state of Hesse made the declaration in a resolution on Friday. The resolution is “a clear signal against anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli policy,” said Christian Democratic Union parliamentary leader Michael Boddenberg, according to the German language Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.
The resolution came in reaction to a ruling earlier this month by a Frankfurt, Germany court, which ruled that Kuwait Airways may bar Israeli citizens from boarding its planes in Germany.
Kuwait does not recognize Israel and Kuwaiti law prohibits companies from doing business with Israelis.
“Such legislation is contrary to the principles of an open society and is not only an ‘anti-Israeli’ policy, but also a clearly anti-Semitic one,” the resolution passed unanimously by the Hesse Parliament read.
An Israeli student living in Frankfurt had sued the airline over its cancellation of his flight to Bangkok in the summer of 2016. The flight was to originate in Frankfurt with a stopover in Kuwait. When the state-owned airline found out the student’s nationality, it canceled his ticket, referring to a 1964 law that bars any agreements with Israeli citizens.
There seems little doubt that the leaders of NIF Australia are largely if not exclusively on the political left. Australian Jewish (JAir radio) broadcaster Michael Burd commented below Shirlee Finn’s post here last year:
“Our radio program Nothing Left has been exposing this insidious bunch of anti Israel activists for a long time.
We have had … experts on our program … who have provided facts and figures not just raw opinion . Our Jerusalem based good friend Isi Leibler has on many occasions let our listeners know how NIF are helping our enemies to demonize Israel around the world .
[Fellow broadcaster] Alan Freedman and myself delivered an excellent talk with fantastic feedback at the recent Limmud O . In fact one of NIF supporters also on the board of the far left wing Limmud Oz was in the audience and I think was hugely embarrassed by the overwhelming evidence we supplied. Of course in typical leftist manner all [that] NIF supporters could do was demonize and shoot the messenger….”
NIF Australia now has, it’s rumoured, a new cobber in Australia, namely the country’s oldest Reform congregation, Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, established in 1930, and led for decades by two very great men in succession, intellectuals Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger from Berlin, a robust Zionist, and Rabbi Dr John Levi, whose sense of history and love for Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel is palpable.
But now, under its present rabbi and board of management, the Temple is rumoured to on the verge of partnering, so to speak, with NIF Australia and, through the employment of a holder of an NIF Australia Naomi Chazan Fellowship, of acting as a sort of propaganda vehicle for the NIF, at any rate within the congregation itself.
No doubt the Temple, naively, has the best of intentions in pursuing such a path. But it’s disturbing to see it hoodwinked.
Baroness Warsi has reportedly made divisive comments claiming that Jews, Sikhs and black people do not do enough to speak out against the far-right and anti-Muslim hatred.
According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, Baroness Warsi told a meeting: “While they represent a minority within a minority, it is extremely distasteful to see that the [English Defence League] have Sikh, Jewish, and black chapters. More leaders of those communities need to stand up with Muslims to challenge Islamophobia.”
To the extent of our knowledge, there are fewer than a dozen members of the English Defence League’s so-called “Jewish Division” which has not surfaced in the news since 2012. The Jewish Division’s leader left in 2011, citing “Nazis within” and when a replacement was found in 2012, the Jewish Division was revealed by the JC as having “around a dozen members, only a few of whom are actually Jewish.” Of course, no British Jew should be associated with the English Defence League, but in any community there will be a small number who will defy their community and engage with extremists, and such a small and inactive contingent is hardly a sign of a significant problem.
On the contrary, the Jewish community has been at the forefront of fighting the far-right throughout living memory, and various Jewish leaders and organisations have taken a leading role in fighting anti-Muslim hatred, even going so far as donating their own time and money to help set up organisations which combat anti-Muslim hate.
Baroness Warsi baited the Jewish community only months ago when she claimed in March that British Jews who volunteer for the Israeli Defence Force should be prosecuted as though they had been fighting for genocidal terrorist groups such as ISIS.
Ken Livingstone is to star in an annual political comedy show at Leicester Square Theatre that has previously hosted Tony Blair, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Ed Balls, Ruth Davidson, Alastair Campbell, Michael Portillo, Harriet Harman, Nigel Farage, Neil Kinnock, Alan Johnson, Lord Prescott, Jack Straw and Dame Tessa Jowell.
This year, on 6th December, host Matt Forde will welcome Anny Soubry and Nick Clegg, followed by Ken Livingstone with his own show on 7th December. According to publicity material: “Both evenings promise to be a raucous end to the wildest year in British politics…yet.”
There is nothing remotely funny about Ken Livingstone’s unapologetic claim that “Hitler was supporting Zionism”. It is outrageous that he is now due to be given a platform along with senior figures such as Nick Clegg and Anna Soubry, at such a prestigious venue. No doubt they will wish to reconsider their participation rather than appear as a warmup the day before Ken Livingstone.
Most of that BBC content adopted and amplified PLO framing of the Balfour Declaration as an ‘injustice’ and advanced the notion that Britain should apologise for the century-old document.
Only five items out of the fourteen accurately informed BBC audiences that the Balfour Declaration’s ‘second part’ – which was for the most part presented as being ‘incomplete’ and ‘unfinished business’ – specifically refers to the “civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities” rather than, as was inaccurately claimed in the rest of the content, rights in general.
With the exception of two of the items, the fact that the vast majority of the Palestinians living in Judea & Samaria and the Gaza Strip do so under Palestinian rule and hence have political rights under that system was erased from audience view.
The narrative of the Balfour Declaration as ‘colonialism’ and an act that Britain had no right to carry out was repeatedly advanced in many of these items, as was the claim that the British government should take a stand against ‘settlements’. The anti-Israel BDS campaign was promoted in two of the items.
The notion that Palestinians were ‘dispossessed’ of ‘their land’ by the Balfour Declaration and that the document was the cause of the ‘Nakba’ was repeatedly promoted in many of these reports. In four of the items BBC audiences were given inaccurate portrayals of the McMahon correspondence and the false notion that the land assigned to creation of a homeland for the Jewish people had already been promised to the Arabs by the British was promoted.
In only one item did BBC audiences hear a reference (not from a BBC journalist) to the significance of Jordan as a location in which the political rights of Arab communities in the area known as Palestine at the time were fulfilled. The part of the Balfour Declaration safeguarding “the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country” was erased from BBC coverage, along with the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands.
Sadly for the BBC’s reputation as an ‘impartial’ media organisation, it is all too obvious that the editorial approach adopted throughout the corporation’s remarkably generous coverage of the Balfour Declaration centenary bears an uncanny resemblance to the PLO’s political narrative concerning that topic.
After Hamas and Fatah announced their latest ‘reconciliation’ in mid-September, BBC coverage of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip suddenly waned and no further reporting on the topic has since appeared.
However, if BBC audiences perhaps assumed that reason for that dramatic drop in coverage is that the Hamas-Fatah ‘unity deal’ (which was reported profusely and enthusiastically by the BBC) has solved the long-standing crisis, they would be mistaken – as the Times of Israel reports.
It is actually quite remarkable that even now, more than a month after the original reconciliation document was signed in Cairo, the PA still has not lifted those sanctions — the same sanctions that make it difficult to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip, that sent thousands of former PA officials into early retirement, and that prevent the transfer of payments for medical treatment and the purchase of medications for Gaza’s residents. […]
The average Gazan has felt no alleviation of hardship since the agreement was signed. True, Hamas’s roadblock (known as the 4/4) at the Erez border crossing has been dismantled, and Hamas’s security services no longer interrogate and inspect anyone leaving or entering the Gaza Strip there. Hamas has also stopped collecting taxes and customs fees at the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is now staffed by unarmed PA police officers.
But Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, reported this week that Hamas officials have instead summoned several hundred merchants and demanded that they pay taxes directly to Hamas on merchandise entering the Gaza Strip since the reconciliation deal was signed.
In other words, Hamas is not carrying out the provisions of the agreement all that carefully either. Residential buildings are given only five hours of electricity per day, followed by a 12-hour break. The frequent power outages are preventing the sewage treatment plants from operating, and sewage is flowing at full strength into the Mediterranean Sea, making trips to the beach an unpleasantly smelly affair.”
Remarkably though, the BBC now seems to have lost interest in the subject of the plight of Gaza residents struggling to make do with a few hours of electricity a day – despite having extensively covered that story for six months.
According to a report released by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry on Sunday, antisemitic acts have increased by nearly 10% in the last year, largely at the hands of one newly-formed pro-Nazi group.
Antipodean Resistance, a white supremacist group formed in October 2016, has called for executions of Jews and homosexuals, and their increasing presence – growing from a Melbourne-based organization to national representation – has been a cause for concern for Australian Jews. Right-wing extremist groups like Antipodean Resistance – and not religious groups – were named as the chief offenders in antisemitic assaults between September 2016 and September 2017.
The report includes three instances of physical confrontations, including one in which a Jewish student riding on a public bus was spat on and beaten after being asked, “Where are your striped pajamas?” The bulk of the incidents that were recorded were assaults, many of which were verbal, with individuals favoring phrases like ”F****ing Jews,” ”F*** you Jews,” and, quite often, simply “Jew.”
Some Australian antisemites preferred to write down their racist epithets, often doing so in the form of swastikas, or, on occasion, in threatening emails. One offender wrote to a Jewish media organization that ”the Jew is the demon behind the corruption of mankind,” while another termed Jews ”pit vipers.”
Some incidents, though by no means a majority, specifically mentioned Israel or Israeli individuals, or related to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.
Although Australia remains a stable, vibrant and tolerant democracy, where Jews face no official discrimination, and are free to observe their faith and traditions, antisemitism persists. There are segments of Australian society which are not only hostile towards Jews, but actively and publicly express that hatred with words and threatened or actual violent acts. As a result, and by necessity, physical security remains a prime concern for the Jewish community.
“The Jewish community is the only community within Australia whose places of worship, schools, communal organisations and community centres need, for security reasons, to operate under the protection of high fences, armed guards, metal detectors, CCTV cameras and the like. The necessity is recognised by Australia’s law enforcement agencies and arises from the entrenched and protean nature of antisemitism in western and Muslim culture, resulting in a high incidence of physical attacks against Jews and Jewish communal buildings over the last three decades, and continuing threats.”
For a diverse society such as Australia’s to be socially cohesive, it is imperative that those in positions of influence within Australia publicly condemn antisemitism and other forms of racism, and support legal and other measures to counter all forms of racism, especially those which involve violence or advocacy of violence.
The 2017 Report on Antisemitism in Australia, was compiled by ECAJ Research Officer Julie Nathan. The report itself can be viewed here.
I try to avoid light plane travel. But for this trip, there was only one option.
A few days ago I boarded a shuttle bus at Southampton Airport in Hampshire, England, with 9NEWS cameraman Oliver Clarke.
Night had fallen but out the bus window we could see the aircraft waiting for us.
It was a 16-seater, twin-propeller plane that looked like something out of Indiana Jones – exactly the type of plane I try to avoid. And yet this trip was too important to worry about transport issues.
We were travelling to Alderney Island, where we’d heard the graves of Nazi victims were at risk of being desecrated.
Alderney, which is less than six kilometres long, is a British territory with a permanent population of less than 2000.
In December 1940 it was captured by the Nazis, who held the island until the end of the war.
During the occupation, Alderney underwent a massive fortification project, and today concrete bunkers and tank defences dot the island.
Some are incredibly well-preserved. But the cost of this project was paid in blood, with the structures largely built by slave labour.
The Nazis set up camps and then filled them with Russians, Jews and other prisoners of war.
“There was never any intention that those people would survive,” British Colonel Richard Kemp said.
Col Kemp, along with research partner John Weigold, has recently completed extensive research on wartime Alderney.
“They were simply worked to death. They were starved, they were treated appallingly,” he said.
The most notorious Nazi camp on Alderney was named “Lager Sylt”. Sylt was run by the SS – the Schutzstaffel, Hitler’s notorious special branch.
“There would be random, recreational killings,” Col Kemp said.
Unidentified individuals wrote “death to the kikes” on the wall of a Jewish charity in western Ukraine.
The black graffiti was discovered Monday on the exterior wall of Uzhgorod’s Hesed Shpira charity, which is funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote on Facebook Monday.
The incident, which Dolinsky said occurred Sunday night, follows several cases of death threats and vandalism against Jewish institutions in western Ukraine.
A monument commemorating Jews murdered in a small town in southern Poland during World War II may be removed.
The owner of the land on which the memorial is standing has asked the local government of Chrzanow to remove the monument. It is believed that he wants to sell or lease the land.
In 1942, the Germans murdered seven Jews at the site in Chrzanow as punishment for illegal bread baking. The victims were: Israel Gerstner, Chaim Gerstner, Szymszen Gerstner, Szaja Szpangelet, Fajwel Waloman, Israel Frisz and an unknown man from Olkusz.
The mayor of the town informed the Jewish community in nearby Katowice about the request to remove the monument. Members of the Chrzanow town council are now discussing how to commemorate the murders should the monument ultimately be removed, including asking whoever builds on the land to put a memorial plaque on the building which arises in place of the monument.
“Poles also have their memorial places abroad and are fighting for them like lions. Therefore, we should respect such places in our area. People who died there were also Polish people,” said town councilman Kamil Bogusz in an interview with the weekly “Przełom.”
A Minnesota man accused of being a Nazi war criminal donated thousands of dollars to the Republican party in 2013 and 2014, the Daily Beast reported last week.
Michael Karkoc, a Ukrainian national who immigrated to the US in 1949, reported to US immigration authorities that he had done no military service during the Second World War. Karkoc was permitted into the US in 1949 and naturalized in 1959.
For the next six decades, Karkoc lived a quiet life in the Midwest, until a 2013 Associated Press expose identified Karkoc as the author of an anonymously-written 1995 account of a member of the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion during World War II.
Karkoc is alleged to have deserted after being conscripted by German occupation forces, and later joined the Ukrainian Self-Defense League, a group aligned with the nationalist Ukrainian militia group OUN-M, or Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
Late in the war, Karkoc argued in his memoir, the League cooperated with German occupation forces to combat the Soviet army as it crossed into the Ukraine.
But despite claims by Karkoc that the League fought only Soviet troops and communist-allied partisans, some historians, including Ivan Katchanovski, argue that the relationship between nationalist militias and Nazi forces were far closer than Karkoc admitted, and that militia groups like the League were typically employed to do the ‘dirty work’ of the German army, including massacres of civilians.
A spate of antisemitic graffiti in Marseille over the last week has been linked by a councillor in the French port city to a recent performance of the controversial antisemitic comedian, Dieudonné Mbala Mbala.
Dieudonné performed his one-man show La Guerre (“The War”) in Marseille on November 19. “We had Dieudonné before 8,000 cheering fans,” Laurent Lhardit, a Marseille councillor from the Socialist Party who serves a district with a large Jewish community, told local media. “And we had the word ‘Jew’ sprayed on the storefronts of several businesses.”
The French-Cameroonian comedian has established a reputation for targeting French Jews over more than a decade, and has been fined several thousand Euros by courts in France and Belgium, most recently in January 2017, for his continual stream of antisemitic comments. He has denounced the Holocaust as “memorial pornography” and is the originator of the “quenelle” – an inverted Nazi salute that briefly became a viral social media phenomenon in 2013. Among Dieudonné’s closest collaborators is Alain Soral, a white far-right activist with ties to neo-Nazi circles. In September, the two men travelled to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to perform in a “peace festival” honoring Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Update, November 27: Since this report based on French media sources was published, the French newspaper La Provence has reported that the graffiti was sprayed by a local Jewish artist, identified as “Ilan,” who signs himself as “Juif.” A representative of the Marseille police revealed that Ilan had identified himself as responsible for the graffiti after reading newspaper articles about the outrage his artwork had caused, and that he now regretted his “thoughtless act.” “Ilan” is expected to be fined by a local court for having committed a criminal act.
The Israel-based I Clown You Project brought two Dream Doctor medical clowns, David Barashi and Rotem Goldenberg, from Israel to Los Angeles earlier this month for a weeklong series of events, lectures, hospital visits, workshops and seminars.
The project aims to grow awareness in the United States around the profession of professional medical clowning and its value both in the hospital and in daily life.
In Israel, medical clowning is a recognized healthcare profession. Barashi and Goldenberg are among the 100 members of the Dream Doctors Project.
Barashi heads the medical clown unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and has worked with child and adult patients and victims of disasters in Nepal, Haiti and Uganda. Goldenberg works in settings including a hospital, a religious boarding school and a youth mental health center.
Clowning around at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of I Clown You
The trip was organized with the support of Sinai Temple, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and University of Southern California (USC) School of Dramatic Arts.
First appearing in 2008, Comedy for Koby has paved the way for some of America’s leading comedic acts to perform for audiences across Israel while raising funds for The Koby Mandell Foundation, which benefits victims of terror and other tragedies.
The upcoming tour will feature three names new to the Israeli stage: Tammy Pescatelli, DC Benny and Don McMillan. The tour’s host and opening performer is Avi Liberman, an accomplished comic who has appeared around the world and on late night television and founded Comedy for Koby as a way to introduce some of the best comedians to Israel while also supporting a worthy cause.
Over the past decade many of the comedians who have appeared on the tour have returned back to their homes and professions as informed ambassadors for Israel and the Jewish people. One act who came on the tour in 2011, Ian Edwards, even dedicated a whole set on the “Conan O’Brien show” to his experiences in the Holy Land.
“I take considerable pride in knowing that these comics, many of whom only have negative impressions about Israeli from media reports, are able to go back to the US and understand that this is really a great country with great people,” Liberman says. “And even better, they have the chance to perform and help raise money for a truly incredible organization.”
Britain’s Prince Harry is engaged to his US actress girlfriend Meghan Markle with the marriage due to take place in the spring of 2018, his father Prince Charles announced on Monday.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin was quick to send a royal mazal tov to the couple, taking to Twitter to congratulate them and invite them to honeymoon in Israel.
Harry, 33, currently fifth-in-line to the British throne, and Markle, 36, best known for her role in the US TV legal drama “Suits,” became engaged earlier this month.
“Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms Markle’s parents,” a statement issued by Clarence House, Prince Charles’ official London residence, said.
“The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness,” a spokesman for Buckingham Palace said.
Banned from his home country after visiting Israel in February, the first Bangladeshi national to ever visit the Jewish state returned this week for an advocacy trip with a Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland delegation.
Dr. Shadman Zaman, 25, arrived in Israel on Wednesday from the UK, where he currently resides. He spoke with The Jerusalem Post in Tel Aviv about his journey from being raised in an antisemitic and anti-Israel education system to becoming a loud and proud pro-Israel activist who is converting to Judaism.
Growing up in a majority Sunni country, Zaman said he was surrounded by classic antisemitism.
“Even in our school books, it said ‘Jews are the mirror of Satan’ and ‘Zionists control the world,’” he told the Post.
He gives credit to his aristocratic, well connected and open family upbringing for his ability to formulate his own opinions about Israel.
“Even my school, which used a Cambridge curriculum, used to encourage hatred toward Israel. But, luckily, my home was different,” he said.
For Zaman, Alan Dershowitz’s book The Case for Israel was a game-changer. After reading it at age 12, Zaman developed a thirst for Zionist books, which his late grandfather smuggled into the country for him.
During her off-time from playing the much-adored Wonder Woman as well as raising her two children, Israeli actress Gal Gadot is also a Mossad agent — at least according to a leading Lebanese newspaper.
The daily Al Liwaa on Monday published an image of Gadot on its front page, claiming she was Collette Vianfi, the supposed name of an agent from Israel’s international spy agency who allegedly recruited and was working with Lebanese actor and playwright Ziad Itani.
Itani was arrested on Friday on charges of “collaborating” with Israel and gathering information on political figures.
He was detained “after several months of monitoring, follow-up and investigations within and outside” Lebanon, said the State Security Directorate General, in a statement carried by Lebanon’s National News Agency.
According to the Al Liwaa report, the photograph of Gadot “circulated,” seemingly on social media. Hours before the Lebanese daily published its report, some on social media had begun sharing the photo of Gadot, saying she was Vianfi. (h/t Yenta Press)
Love that Lebanese Al-Liwaa newspaper was able to uncover the identity of a Mossad secret agent. Have it on good authority that she also disguises herself as a race car driver and super hero. pic.twitter.com/9IETPLMRWy
— Alberto Fernandez (@VPAFernandez) November 27, 2017
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