Israel: Settlement Group Calls for Dividing Al-Aqsa between Jews, Muslims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Settlement Group Calls for Dividing Al-Aqsa between Jews, Muslims

Thursday, 17 October, 2019 – 10:00
The Al Aqsa mosque compound and the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Reuters
Tel Aviv – Asharq Al-Awsat
Extremist Jewish settler groups distributed a statement to Jewish worshipers coming to the Buraq Square, adjacent to the walls of Jerusalem surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on them not to just pray in this courtyard, which is considered sacred to Jews as it is near the Western Wall, but to flock into the Jerusalem Mosque’s squares to perform their prayers.

An organization called the “Temple Groups”, called for a gathering on Saturday in Al-Aqsa courtyards, to raise their demand to equally allocate prayer times for Jews and Muslims under the slogan of “equality and non-discrimination against Jews.”

A wave of settlers stormed the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday, under strict security measures by the Israeli occupation forces. The raid came in response to calls by Jewish organizations to intensify “visits” to the place in celebration of the Jewish Throne Day.

According to the Islamic Waqf, the total number of Jewish settlers who entered Al-Aqsa on Wednesday reached 906, including 295 in the morning and 611 in the afternoon. Israeli occupation authorities also arrested the preacher of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dr. Ismail Nawahda, and conducted a lengthy investigation with him, and then released him in the evening.

The number of settlers entering the mosque is expected to increase in the coming days. Israeli ministers and officials participated in some of these incursions, creating further tension with the Palestinians.

German theologian says Israel is part of the holocaust — Tapfer im Nirgendwo

“Western Christianity’s guilt-ridden anti-Judaism and Western anti-Semitism resulted in two catastrophes,” explains Protestant theologian, Ulrich Duchrow. One catastrophe is the murder of six million Jews. So, what was the other catastrophe? The theologian is very specific: “The silence of the West concerning Israel’s efforts, made possible through the United Nations (UN), to divide up Palestine”. […]

via German theologian says Israel is part of the holocaust — Tapfer im Nirgendwo

The Trumpian Idiot Strikes Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Less than a day after President Donald Trump outraged many members of the Jewish community for his comments about their loyalty, he tweeted out the claim that Israeli Jews view him as the “second coming of God.”

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump quoted conservative radio host and known conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root, who practically declared the president the Messiah during his show Tuesday night.

Quoting Root’s tweet, Mr. Trump shared the message that he is “the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world,” that “the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel” and even that “They love him like he is the second coming of God.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….

35.7K people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..

27.8K people are talking about this

Mr. Trump said “Wow!” and thanked Root for the “very nice words.”

Root is a self-described “Jew turned evangelical Christian” and the author of a 2015 book titled “Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon Is Changing America,” which had a forward by now-indicted Trump associate Roger Stone.

Root is also known for promoting bogus right-wing conspiracy theories. He attended Columbia University while Barack Obama was also studying there, then later falsely claimed that Mr. Obama did not actually attend the school. More recently, he falsely said on Twitter that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 58 people, was an act of Muslim terrorism. The gunman was not Muslim and investigators were unable to determine a motive.

The latest tweets come a day after President Trump criticized “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat,” saying it “shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Leaders in the Jewish community raised concerns that the president was promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes by casting Jews as disloyal. Such accusations have a long and disturbing history of being used against Jews, said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

Polling shows that a majority of Jewish Americans identify as Democrats and did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Trump: King Of Israel?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday thanked a conspiracy theorist for saying Jews in Israel love the president “like he’s the King of Israel” and doubled down on his efforts to pit American Jews against one another, accusing Jewish voters of disloyalty if they voted for Democrats.

It was the second day in a row that Mr. Trump addressed Jews and loyalty, a theme evoking an anti-Semitic trope that Jews have a “dual loyalty” and are often more loyal to Israel than to their own countries.

“If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday at the White House.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House on his way to Louisville, Ky., to address a veterans group, Mr. Trump said his remarks were not anti-Semitic.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump thanked the conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root for lavishing praise on Mr. Trump for his successful diplomacy with Israel. Mr. Root is a one-time vice-presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party who now hosts a radio show on Newsmax TV and often promotes conspiracy theories.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..

23.5K people are talking about this

Broadcasting Mr. Root’s words to the president’s more than 63 million Twitter followers and repeating his provocative message to American Jews, Mr. Trump drew immediate accusations that he was fanning anti-Semitic views.

“It is the height of hypocrisy to use Christian theology to bully Jews and to push out some messianic complex — literally, it’s hard to think of something less kosher than telling the Jewish people you’re the king of Israel, and therefore, we should have some fidelity to you for that reason,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, said Wednesday on CNN. “I don’t know if he’s read the Bible, but in the Old Testament, that’s not what we believe.”

Last week, lawmakers were outraged that Israel, with Mr. Trump’s approval, barred two Muslim members of Congress from making an official visit because of their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which pressures Israel on Palestinian issues.

Mr. Trump has tried to make the two Democratic lawmakers, Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the face of the Democratic Party after they made comments this year that were critical of American support of Israel. Though their views on Israel are far from representing the majority of the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump has seized on the divide and is trying to sell it to Jewish voters as a reason to support him.

Winning over Jewish voters would be a significant shift for Mr. Trump, as nearly 80 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections, according to the Pew Research Center.

Some of the president’s Jewish supporters defended Mr. Trump for the second day in a row.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said the organization takes Mr. Trump “seriously, not literally.”

In a Twitter post on Wednesday after Mr. Trump repeated his “loyalty” charge, the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote, “President Trump is pointing out the obvious: for those who care about Israel, the position of many elected Democrats has become anti-Israel.”

Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, a Republican who is Jewish, praised Mr. Trump for his support of the Jewish community and Israel. Mr. Zeldin said the president was right to push back on the “Omar/Tlaib wing of the Dem party.”

“He’s a fighter & wont back down. On these policy priorities, he’s correct,” Mr. Zeldin wrote in a tweet.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, also addressed Jewish Republicans on Wednesday, with a different message.

“To my fellow American Jews, particularly those who support @realDonaldTrump: When he uses a trope that’s been used against the Jewish people for centuries with dire consequences, he is encouraging — wittingly or unwittingly — anti-Semites throughout the country and world,” Mr. Schumer wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Enough.”

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Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

Zionist Federation of Australia calls on Israeli deputy health minister to step down over suspected efforts to prevent extradition to Melbourne of alleged sex abuser Malka Leifer

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A prominent Australian Jewish organization on Wednesday welcomed news that police had recommended the indictment of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman for allegedly pressuring officials in his office to prevent the extradition of suspected sex predator Malka Leifer to Melbourne.

“This is a very welcome step forward in a frustratingly long and drawn out process to achieve justice for Leifer’s victims,” the Zionist Federation of Australia, an umbrella organization of pro-Israel groups, said in a statement.

The ZFA also called for Litzman to step down from his post while the legal proceedings against him continue.

Developments in the Leifer case have been closely followed by the Jewish community in Australia and Tuesday’s police recommendation made national headlines down under.

“These are extremely serious allegations and it is simply untenable for anyone in a position of public trust and responsibility to continue in their position while under
investigation for fraud and breach of trust. There should be zero tolerance for an elected official who sabotages the rule of law – a democratic principle which is foundational to the State of Israel,” the ZFA added.

The Australian umbrella group went on to express solidarity with Leifer’s alleged victims, specifically Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, who have led a campaign to push Israel to extradite their former high school principal.

(R) Deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman seen during a press conference after meeting with president Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on April 15, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90); (L) A private investigator tagged Malka Leifer as she spoke on the phone, while sitting on a bench in Bnei Brak, on December 14, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Police on Tuesday recommended that Litzman be charged with fraud and breach of trust for the case involving Leifer, a former ultra-Orthodox girls’ school principal charged in Australia with 74 counts of child sex abuse. Since February, authorities have been investigating the deputy health minister on suspicion that he had pressured employees in his office to alter the conclusions of psychiatric evaluations that had deemed Leifer fit for extradition.

In addition, police also recommended that Litzman, who is also chairman of the United Torah Judaism party, be charged with bribery for attempts to influence officials in the Health Ministry to prevent the closure of a Jerusalem deli that he frequented — a closure that had been ordered due to “serious sanitary findings found that led to the sickness of a number of people who ate from its products.”

Litzman, who possesses many authorities of a full minister despite serving as a deputy, denied any wrongdoing, maintaining in a response to the police recommendation that his office has a “clear open-door policy for assisting members of the public. This is without discrimination between populations and without clarifying the status of those who call for assistance. The deputy minister expressed confidence that no charges would ultimately be filed.”

In the wake of the police recommendation, it will be up to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to determine whether to indict the deputy health minister.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday that the State Prosecutor’s Office is slated to hand down its recommendation to Mandelblit by the September 17 elections and said the attorney general may even reach a decision to indict — pending a hearing — before the vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, speaks with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, left, in the Knesset, on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Leifer is known to have links to the Gur community, of which Litzman is a member, having once taught at a school in Israel affiliated with the Hasidic branch.

A Justice Ministry official told The Times of Israel in February that police had recordings of Litzman and officials in his office speaking to Health Ministry employees and pressing them to act on Leifer’s behalf.

In 2000, Leifer was recruited from Israel to work at the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne. When allegations of sexual abuse against the mother of eight began to surface eight years later, members of the school board purchased a red-eye plane ticket back to Israel for Leifer, allowing her to avoid being charged.

After authorities in Melbourne filed charges against her, Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2012. Leifer was arrested in Israel two years later, but released to house arrest shortly thereafter. Judges deemed her mentally unfit to stand trial and eventually removed all restrictions against her, concluding that she was too ill to even leave her bed.

Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes in 2016. (Facebook photo)

She was rearrested in February 2018 following a police undercover operation that cast doubts on her claims regarding her mental state, and has remained in custody since. The operation was launched after the Jewish Community Watch NGO hired private investigators who placed hidden cameras in the Emmanuel settlement, a Haredi community in the northern West Bank, where Leifer had been living, which showed the alleged sex abuser roaming around the town without any apparent difficulty.

Despite the seemingly damning footage, the trial has dragged on for an additional year, as the court continues to debate her mental fitness. The Jerusalem district psychiatrist responsible for evaluating Leifer, Dr. Jacob Charnes, has changed his mind three times regarding whether Leifer was fit for extradition, ultimately signing off on a legal opinion in which state psychiatrists found her fit for extradition.

However, when the psychiatrist was cross-examined by the defense on the evaluation late last year, he told the court that he recommended an additional evaluation of Leifer be carried out — a proposal that both sides have rejected.

A legal official told The Times of Israel that police suspected Charnes changed his medical conclusion after being contacted by officials in Litzman’s office. Though Charnes has been interrogated under caution in the case against the deputy health minister, police on Tuesday said they did not recommend he be tried.

The Jerusalem District Court will hand down a final decision regarding Leifer’s mental fitness for an extradition hearing on September 23. The Times of Israel learned last month that a separate court-appointed medical board is slated to officially conclude that Leifer has been feigning mental illness, in a ruling that would likely impact the Jerusalem District Court’s decision.

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Israel: liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

After El Paso massacre, liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

Reform leader accuses president of emboldening mass shooters by ‘demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants’

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August  3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

WASHINGTON — Liberal American Jewish leaders, fuming at another mass shooting allegedly carried out by a white supremacist, took US President Donald Trump to task on Sunday, saying he had fueled xenophobia and division in the country for three years, while failing to press for stricter gun laws.

Their condemnations came after a 21-year-old gunman, armed with a powerful rifle, walked into a crowded Walmart on Saturday in El Paso, Texas — a majority Hispanic city on the border with Mexico — and opened fire. Authorities identified the assailant as Patrick Crusius from Dallas, who stalked shoppers in the aisles of the retail giant as he riddled them with bullets, leaving at least 20 people dead and another 26 wounded.

Crusius is suspected of being the author of a manifesto posted online before the attack, in which he said was responding to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement that the shooter was reciting language frequently used by Trump — a sign that his influence was evident in the motivation for the attack.

“The El Paso killer was a white supremacist who wrote a ‘send them back’ manifesto, echoing the words of President Trump,” Soifer said. “Trump is responsible for fueling a fire of xenophobia and hatred in our country, and Republicans are responsible for allowing it to occur.”

Pallbearers carry the casket of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019, in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

Over the past year, two other mass shootings by white supremacists were preceded by similar manifestos — one written by John Earnest before the Poway synagogue shooting in April, and one authored by Brenton Tarrant before he opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand in March, killing 50 people.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that the release of a manifesto before Saturday’s attack fit the same pattern.

“We have documented a rise in extremist activity, both online and in our communities,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “As with too many of these incidents, our experts have again been reviewing the apparent manifesto of an alleged shooter, as well as other elements of his online footprint, to evaluate potential extremist ties.”

Greenblatt went on to say that, if police confirm the manifesto’s authenticity, it will make the El Paso attack one of the deadliest acts of domestic terrorism in modern American history.

“If the suspect is the author of the manifesto, this latest act of domestic terrorism will be, according to the ADL’s Center on Extremism’s records, the third deadliest act of violence by a domestic extremist in over 50 years, and the second deadliest act of violence by a right-wing extremist in the same span, second only to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,” he added.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on August 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump has been frequently criticized for his tacit welcoming of support from white nationalists. During the 2016 campaign, he refused to immediately reject the support of David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

As president, he likewise refused to immediately condemn neo-Nazis and Klan members who marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, saying that “very fine people” were marching alongside them.

Most recently, he told four freshmen congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from. All four are American citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.

He has also implemented immigration policies that have been broadly condemned as inhumane — including the family separation policy of splitting up parents from their children at the border — to deter immigrants and asylum seekers from entering the country.

After the El Paso attack, Rick Jacobs, who heads the Union for Reform Judaism, lamented the inaction of politicians to effectuate stronger gun-safety measures.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing delegates at its 2017 Biennial in Boston, December 7, 2017. (Courtesy of the Union for Reform Judaism/via JTA)

“It is not enough for elected officials to muster their ‘thoughts and prayers,’” he said in a statement Saturday. “Like millions of Americans I’m sick of the pathetic excuses offered by too many lawmakers for not passing strong and effective common sense gun laws.”

He then directed his indignation toward Trump. “And if we are to call on the leaders of our nation to address this epidemic of hate, a goal that, hopefully, almost all Americans cherish, we must ask: When will this president stop demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants, which serves to embolden those like today’s shooter?”

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Israel: Jews are the canary in the coal mine for humanity

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

JULY 27, 2019
CURRENT TOP STORIES
INTERVIEW‘WHEN MY FAMILY WAS IN TROUBLE THE JEWISH WORKERS BACKED US’

New UK anti-Semitism adviser: Jews are the canary in the coal mine for humanity

Labour MP John Mann hopes new PM will keep him in role he was given in one of May’s last acts as premier; no love lost between lawmaker and some Corbyn allies in his own party

Labour MP John Mann with German Premier Angela Merkel at the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. (Courtesy)

Labour MP John Mann with German Premier Angela Merkel at the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. (Courtesy)

LONDON —  According to British Labour MP John Mann, “when it comes to fighting anti-Semitism, it’s not enough for us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish community, when the anti-Semites are throwing the stones of hatred, of bitterness, of bile.”

“We have to stand in front of [Jews] in this fight. This must not be only the responsibility of the Jewish community,” he said.

On Tuesday July 23, in one of her very last acts as prime minister, Theresa May appointed Mann as the government’s adviser on anti-Semitism. He joins Lord Tariq Ahmad as adviser on freedom of religion and belief, and Lord Eric Pickles as the special envoy on post-Holocaust issues. All three of the posts are performed pro-bono.

Mann, a tall, fit and burly politician with a well-founded reputation for plain speaking, knows what he is talking about. For the last 15 years he has headed the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against anti-Semitism, stepping down from his chairmanship only this week.

He co-founded, with Canada’s former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. Both bodies have consistently produced deeply researched reports into the nature and level of anti-Semitism, making recommendations to governments.

Perhaps the single act which brought him to national consciousness was his 2016 confrontation with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who had just claimed on a radio program that Adolf Hitler was initially a supporter of Zionism. Not mincing his words, Mann rounded on Livingstone in a building crammed with TV cameras, calling him “a Nazi apologist.” It put him definitively out of kilter with many colleagues in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle, but Mann did not care.

In his office — a more spacious part of the parliamentary estate than many backbench MPs enjoy — Mann is relaxed and confident as he talks to The Times of Israel about the background to his appointment, a newly-created role which he hopes the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, will continue.

But how is that Mann, 59, whose northern mining constituency of Bassetlaw is almost certainly home to few or no Jews, became such a vehement defender of the Jewish community?

The answer, as Mann himself told a Community Security Trust (CST) dinner in February, lies in his own family background. He is Labour through and through, a child of Labour activist parents, and even met his wife through the Labour Party.

Labour MP John Mann speaking at the Community Security Trust dinner in February 2019, after presenting red roses to four Jewish women MPs who had become the targets of antisemitic abuse. (Courtesy)

But it was the actions of his great-grandparents which set the scene for the Mann family.

“My great grandparents formed the Labour Party with Jewish workers in Leeds in 1906, and at every stage in their history, in their involvement in the Labour Party, stood alongside the Jewish community and defended the Jewish community,” Mann told the CST audience.

“When my family was in trouble, when my family was thrown out of work for forming the Labour Party in Leeds, the Jewish community, the Jewish workers, the Jewish Labour Movement, they stood and backed alongside my family,” he said.

Mann, who has been an MP since 2001, is still paying it forward in what he feels is a matter of moral principle.

“You cannot imagine how much hurt, how much shame, how much anger we have in what is defiling what has been not just my life, but my family’s existence. And many families’ existence down the generations,” said Mann. “That’s what’s at stake here. We’re not going to give in. We’re not going to hand over to these anti-Semites and those that stand by and encourage them and are silent.”

Labour MP John Mann in Hungary. (Courtesy)

For 15 years as chair of the APPG against anti-Semitism, Mann has been warning of the evils of Jew-hatred, which he describes as “the worst of racisms.” The genesis of his new role, he says, sprouts from a series of discussions that Jewish community leaders had with Downing Street.

“They wanted some sort of liaison person between the community and government,” said Mann.

In Germany the role is filled by a civil servant, while US President Donald Trump has just appointed a new special envoy, Elan Carr. Downing Street, says Mann, responded to the request from the British Jewish community and asked him to take up the post.

Though nominally the new job is a “point of contact between the Jewish community and government,” Mann is likely to step it up a notch. He is keen on practical consequences and points to the generous government provision of security finance for Jewish community institutions — including Jewish schools — as a direct result of the work and recommendations made by the parliamentary committee which he chaired. The new job, which is open-ended, will, he hopes, result in even more practical actions.

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain’s opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)

His first target will be Jewish teenagers in the 16-19 age bracket.

“I have one overriding objective, and this I will say to the government: that Jewish teenagers feel secure and safe living here, that there is no impingement on their ability to be themselves and want to do well in this country, and to remain in this country, positively,” said Mann. “That’s the objective. But I don’t believe at the moment that it is the case.”

Jewish teens, says Mann, should be able to feel that they can prosper — not necessarily financially, but socially and culturally.

“A top priority will be to find out if my feeling on that is in fact accurate. So my first big piece of work will be to go and talk to those 16- to 19-year-olds, to get their perspective on how they see their position in our society,” he said.

Such information, he believes, “will be absolutely pivotal” in framing what advice he will subsequently give to the government.

“If the teens tell me they don’t feel safe here, that is a problem,” he said.

In 2006, says Mann, the APPG identified three strands of anti-Semitism: “traditional right anti-Semitism, which was just as virulent, despite all the education that’s been around — and that remains the case today. So the far right remains a problem for the Jewish community, and young Jews — from neo-fascists to terrorism.”

“Then there was Muslim anti-Semitism,” he continued, “which the committee said had not been a problem in the past because there were very few Muslims in Britain.

“Now there is a significant presence and therefore Muslim anti-Semitism is a bigger problem — and that is a fact. We have seen Islamists committing murderous attacks on Jewish communities in France, Belgium, Austria, Copenhagen…” he said.

Such attacks have not so far taken place in Britain, observed Mann, “because in my view the UK is better prepared, through the work of the CST — and I’m proud that our committee [the APPG] has played an important role in strengthening governmental support for the Jewish community.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigns for Lisa Forbes in Peterborough, England, on June 1, 2019. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

The third serious problem, identified in 2006, was far left anti-Semitism, thought dormant but now once again on the rise. Mann, no friend of Corbyn, says the Labour leader is the catalyst for some of the Jewish race hate, but warns that if Corbyn disappeared tomorrow, much of the anti-Semitism would still remain.

“The problem is deeper than Corbyn. Anti-semites within the Labour Party have been emboldened, and extremists have been attracted to the Labour Party,” he said.

To his great anger and disappointment, Mann has seen and charted an overlap between the three strands of anti-Semitism, with alt-right and far left groups using the same imagery, sometimes joined by Islamists. On some occasions, he says, it’s impossible to tell which of the three strands is driving the abuse.

“I’m not Jewish, but it hasn’t stopped people throwing vile anti-Semitic stuff at me, including violent threats. And some of the worst stuff, where police have been involved, I have no idea whether it is emanating from the right, the left, or Islamists,” he said.

Labour MP John Mann addresses press, speaking out on behalf of the children’s hospital ward in his constituency of Bassetlaw. (Courtesy)

Mann says that the increased use of the internet and social media is one of the biggest things to have exacerbated anti-Semitism, and warns that both the Jewish community and government must become a lot smarter and more savvy in dealing with online abuse.

As he takes up his new role, of one thing he is sure: “I represent a community that was comprised of coal miners. Coal miners who, when this country needed it, spent their lives underground digging coal. And what the coal miners in the colleries in my area did to warn against the impending doom was to take a small bird in a cage down the pit with them. A yellow canary,” he said.

“The Jewish community is the canary in the coal mine for humanity and for the safety and future of my grandchildren,” said Mann. “That’s why we have, whether we like it or not, no choice.”

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10 Sivan Facts That Every Jew Should Know

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

1. Sivan is the 3rd Month on the Jewish Calendar

Counting from the springtime month of Nisan, Sivan is the third month on the calendar. Conversely, counting from the month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah) in the fall, it is month number nine.

Read: Our Other Head

2. Sivan Is First Mentioned by Name in the Book of Esther

Like the other contemporary Hebrew names of the months, Sivan originated during the Babylonian exile.1 Thus, we first encounter it in the Book of Esther when we read of a royal communication allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies which was issued on the 23rd day of “the third month, which is the month of Sivan.”2

Read: The Basic Purim Story

3. It’s When We Were Given the Torah at Sinai

On the first day of the third month after the Exodus, our ancestors arrived at Mount Sinai.3Six days later, G‑d descended upon the mountain and communicated the 10 Commandments. The timing was exquisite. The Torah contains three parts (Torah, Prophets, and Writings), the Jewish nation has three tiers (KohenLevite, and Israelite), Moses was the third child (following Miriam and Aaron), and it was the third day since G‑d had commanded that men and women separate in anticipation of the great event.4

Read: What Happened at Matan Torah?

4. Shavuot Is Celebrated in Sivan

We celebrate Shavuot, the anniversary of the revelation at Sinai, on Sivan 6 (as well as Sivan 7 in the diaspora), 50 days after we commemorate the anniversary of the Exodus on Passover. Some special features of Shavuot include: learning Torah all nighthearing the 10 Commandments in the synagoguedelicious dairy meals, and Yizkor memorial.

Read: What Is Shavuot?

5. Wheat Is Harvested in Sivan

In Israel, crops grow through the rainy winter season. By Sivan, they’re ready for harvesting. In ancient times, two wheat loaves, made from fresh grain, were offered in the Holy Temple on Shavuot. It was also at this time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits and grains, to thank G‑d for Israel’s bounty.

Read: Shtei Halechem: The Two Breads

6. The Zodiac of Sivan Is Gemini (Twins)

Following Aries (ram) and Taurus (ox), the Gemini (twins, te’omim in Hebrew) is the first zodiac sign that is a human (the only other is Virgo, the virgin). The sages explain that this is appropriate for the month when we received the Torah, as only a human can extoll, clap, and dance with joy over this momentous event.5

Watch: Do Jews Believe in Zodiac?

7. Sivan Is Associated With Jacob

The third month is a composite of the first two months, distilling and combining their qualities. Thus it is connected to Jacob, who perfected and synthesized the unique paths of Abraham and Isaac who preceded him. And of course, Jacob was a twin to Esau, who took the following two months, Tammuz and Av, associated with the destruction of both holy Temples. 6

Read: Jacob of the Bible

8. Some People Fast and Mourn on 20 Sivan

Over the years, several tragedies have befallen the Jewish people during the month of Sivan. In 1096, during the first days of the month, mobs of frenzied crusaders murdered Jews in Worms, Maintz, and other Rhinish cities. Following the 1171 massacre of the Jews of Blois, France, who had been falsely accused of murdering a Christian child, Rabbenu Tam declared 20 Sivan a fast day. This was reinforced after thousands of German Jews were butchered during the 1289 Rindfleisch massacre at the same time of year. In time, this day became a memorial for victims of the 1648 Cossack riots (tach vetat), many of whom met their deaths at this time of year. Today, this fast is only observed by some Chassidic communities.

Read: The Martyrs of Blois

9. The Month Begins With an Element of Mourning

Each new month is announced and blessed in shul on Shabbat Mevarchim, the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh. Because it is a joyous day, we omit the Av Harachamim prayer for the millions of Jewish martyrs who gave their lives to sanctify G‑d’s name. According to Chabad custom, on the Shabbat preceding the month of Sivan we say this prayer as usual, in deference to the bloody history of the season.

Read: Shabbat Mevarchim

10. The Rebbe Came to America in Sivan

After narrowly escaping the Nazi onslaught in France, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson (1901-1988), arrived in the United States of America on Sivan 28 in the year 5701 (1941).

Thus began the Rebbe’s decades-long revolutionary work to revitalize Jewish life in the West and across the globe.

Read: What the Rebbe’s Arrival in America Means to Me

FOOTNOTES
1.

Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 1:2.

3.

Exodus 19:1 and Rashi ad loc.

4.

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 88a.

5.

Pesikta Rabbati 20.

6.

Zohar II 78b.

Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

Independence Day eve statistics show 2% increase since last year; population expected to reach 15.2 million by 2048

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

On the eve of its 71st Independence Day, Israel’s population stands at 9,021,000, crossing 9 million for the first time, according to figures released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The data show that 6,697,000 Israelis are Jewish (74.2 percent) and 1,890,000 are Arab (20.9%). In addition, there are 434,000 people who are non-Arab Christians or members of other ethnic groups. Seventy-five percent of the Jews in Israel were born in the country.

Since last Independence Day, the population of Israel has grown by 177,000 (an increase of 2%). During that period, 188,000 babies were born, 47,000 people died and 31,000 immigrants arrived in the country.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, 3.2 million immigrants have moved to Israel, with around 43% of them arriving after 1990.

Family members embrace at Ben Gurion Airport as 72 new immigrants from Ethiopia arrive on June 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

According to the data, the country’s population is expected to reach 15.2 million people by Israel’s 100th Independence Day in 2048.

In 1948 there were just 806,000 people in Israel and at the time, the global Jewish population was 11.5 million, and just 6% were in Israel. Today, 45% of the world’s Jews live in Israel.

Independence Day celebrations begin on Wednesday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.

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MAY 6, 2019
CURRENT TOP STORIES
MOSHE FEDER, 68, WAS FATALLY WOUNDED IN THE ATTACK

IDF probing why road where man killed by Gazan anti-tank missile was kept open

Military says it hadn’t believed a Kornet attack could reach highway from Strip even though it was within range, promises to release investigation findings

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Israeli military said it failed to recognize the risks posed to Israeli drivers on a road north of the Gaza Strip where a man was killed Sunday when a Kornet anti-tank guided missile fired from the enclave struck his car.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces ordered some roads around the Gaza Strip closed in light of the threat of sniper and missile attacks from the enclave. However, the Route 34 highway, north of the Strip, near the community of Kibbutz Erez was left open.

“The specific road where the civilian’s vehicle was hit was not closed due to the distance. At the time, we didn’t see that threat,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday evening.

Route 34 runs about 2.5 kilometers from populated parts of the Gaza Strip in some sections. A train route which runs along Route 34 on an elevated track in the same area of the attack was shut for fear of attacks, but the highway was kept open.

The Russian-designed Kornet anti-tank guided missile has an effective range of up to 5.5 kilometers. Unlike the rockets used by terror groups in the Strip, the laser-guided Kornet is highly accurate.

Ilustrative. A Kornet anti-tank guided missile is fired in a Russian military exercise. (Russian military/Wikimedia)

The spokesman said the military was investigating the matter and that it is “very much an ongoing event.” Conricus added that once the IDF completes its probe of the deadly missile attack, it will release the findings to the family of the victim and the public.

Moshe Feder, 68, was fatally wounded when an anti-tank guided missile slammed into his car as he was driving along Route 34. He sustained a serious shrapnel wound to the leg, causing significant blood loss, and was pronounced dead at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center after CPR efforts failed. The Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feder, a Kfar Saba resident, was survived by two children and his partner Iris Eden. Eden lost her first husband, Yashish Eden, in a deadly helicopter crash in 1997. Known as the “helicopter disaster,” that incident saw 73 IDF servicemen lose their lives when two aircraft collided near the northern border with Lebanon.

Moshe Feder, 68, was killed in an anti-tank missile attack on May 5, 2019 (Courtesy)

Speaking to the Ynet news site, Eden said she knew intuitively that Feder was the Sunday morning casualty.

“I’ve been through a few things in my life and I did not need an official statement [to learn] about his death,” she said. “He was my second love — a kind and generous man. We had established a family together with the children and grandchildren over the last three years.”

While Hamas and other terror groups have long had Kornet missiles in their arsenals, the weapon’s high price tag means they are typically used against higher profile military targets, not against civilians.

Kornet missiles were used repeatedly against Israeli tanks throughout the 2014 Gaza war, through they were relatively ineffective as the projectiles were intercepted by tanks’ Trophy active defense systems.

A picture taken on November 12, 2018, shows a bus set ablaze after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, at the Israel-Gaza border near the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, on November 12, 2018. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

A Kornet missile was last used in November, when one was fired at a bus that had just been full of soldiers east of the Gaza border at the Black Arrow memorial site, sparking an intense two-day battle. One serviceman, who had remained on board, was seriously wounded in the attack.

In April 2011, the Hamas terror group fired a Kornet missile at a yellow school bus in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, east of Gaza, killing a 16-year-old student on board, Daniel Viflic.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Vienna school finds our what became of the 50 Jewish Pupils it expelled in 1938

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Vienna school finds out what became of the 50 Jewish pupils it expelled in 1938

Amid widespread ignorance about the Holocaust in Austria, a public high school launches a project to determine the fate of the students it booted under Nazi policies

JTA — On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a public high school in the Austrian capital corrected its own historical record.

Along with a memorial to World War II soldiers, the Gymnasium Kundmanngasse now also has a plaque with the names of the 50 Jewish students expelled from the Vienna school exactly 81 years ago. And the life stories of these pupils – some tragically cut short – are contained in a book written by teenagers now attending the school.

The dedication of the new memorial on April 25 came just as a new survey reveals a disheartening lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among adults in Austria.

But the Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study also found a profound commitment to Holocaust education among Austrians, particularly among younger adults.

What the survey found

The study was commissioned by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and released May 2, Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah.

Among the survey findings:

  • 58 percent of Austrians do not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust;
  • 36% of respondents said they believed people still talk too much about the Holocaust;
  • 28% said they believed that many Austrians acted heroically to save Jews, when in fact only 109 are recognized as rescuers by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and archive.
  • On the positive side, 82% of respondents – and 87% of younger ones — said they believe that Holocaust education is important.

Data was collected from a randomly selected, demographically representative sample of 1,000 Austrian adults. It was analyzed by Schoen Consulting in New York.

A plaque, reading ‘In Memory,’ at the Gymnasium Kundmanngasse commemorates 50 Jewish students expelled from the Vienna school exactly 81 years ago. (Gymnasium Kundmanngasse)

“On one hand, there are some troubling, problematic results,” Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “On the other hand, there is a recognition of the importance of learning about the Holocaust, which is very hopeful. It gives us a road map to ensure that the Shoah is taught in schools and given the proper context and support.”

The first duty of Holocaust education is “to honor the memory of those who were killed,” he said.

Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Communities in Austria and Vienna, said in a statement, “The lack of knowledge among many Austrians revealed through this study sets a mission for not only teachers and politicians but all society. A sincere handling of antisemitic incidents today and misrepresentations of the Shoah is crucial.”

Compared to Germany, Austria was notoriously late in confronting its role in the persecution and genocide of its Jewish population. What might be called willful ignorance changed dramatically in the mid-1980s, when the Nazi past of then-chancellor candidate Kurt Waldheim was put on the table. He was elected despite the questions raised about his role.

In 2000, Austria’s Ministry of Education, Science and Research established a Holocaust education program – errinern.at, or “remembrance.at” – that oversees educational projects on the national and state level with help from other foundations. Its programs reach thousands of teachers and students each year.

Today there is a “broad societal consensus that Austria has a responsibility and a share in this history,” said Martina Maschke, chair of errinern.at, in an interview before the Claims Conference survey’s release. Since the Holocaust is a paradigm for genocides, “there will never be enough Holocaust education.”

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler enters the city limits of Vienna, Austria, on March 14, 1938. (AP Photo)

That’s especially clear today, Maschke said, with the rise of the right wing and an increase in anti-Semitism from migrants “socialized in Muslim countries.”

“Of course, the administration is always one step behind the political factum, and this is something that makes me rather sad,” she said. “But I think that this goes for every society.”

In fact, Schneider said, the results of the survey in Austria are similar to those in recent surveys that the Claims Conference commissioned in the United States (April 2018) and Canada (January 2019). He said they share an “appalling lack of knowledge, and a tremendous commitment to the importance of Holocaust education.”

Changing the record

It was just such a commitment that inspired Katharina Fersterer, a history and English teacher at the Gymnasium Kundmanngasse.

Fersterer, 29, had long been interested in Holocaust history. Austria’s Ministry of Education sent her to a summer program at Yad Vashem two years ago, and she returned determined to add to her school’s historical record in time for its 150th anniversary this year.

“My principal said, ‘Yes, let’s do this,’” Fersterer recalled.

Her students found the names of 50 Jewish students forced to leave the school in April 1938, shortly after Germany annexed Austria.

“But we didn’t stop at that. We wanted to know what happened to them,” Fersterer said.

Viennese Jews behind bars at the Mauthausen concentration camp. (Courtesy Claims Conference)

It turned out that most of the former Jewish students had been able to escape Nazi-occupied Austria via the Kinderstransport, a rescue operation that brought Jewish children from Germany, Austria and then-Czechoslovakia to England in 1938-39.

“But some were also killed in concentration camps,” she said.

The students started looking for descendants of the survivors. Ultimately the project, including art and video, involved teachers and students in other departments.

That’s when Elia Ben-Ari of Arlington, Virginia, received her first Facebook message from Samuel, a 17-year-old senior in Fersterer’s class who asked that his last name not be used.

His message came “out of the blue,” Ben-Ari said in a recent interview, “from somebody who said he was a student doing a project about my father. My first reaction was, ‘Who is this person? How do I know this is legitimate?’”

Samuel had chosen to write about two students – Ernst Ratzer, who did not survive the Holocaust, and Martin Buchbinder, who was sent to safety in England in 1939 and later changed his name to Moshe Ben Ari. After living in Israel, he eventually settled on suburban New York’s Long Island with his family. He died in 2011.

Luckily, Moshe Ben Ari had written an autobiography – “My Pre-American History” – that gave Samuel enough information to go on. But it was just the beginning of his research.

“It was really a surprise to actually find a relative, and when it turned out that she was actually his daughter, I was obviously very excited and happy,” Samuel said.

A local momentum

On April 25, the school held a ceremony and dedication of a plaque remembering the 50 former Jewish students.

“We now have a kind of book with all their life stories,” Fersterer said.

That book sits alongside Moshe Ben Ari’s autobiography for anyone to read, in the room with the plaque, she said.

Moshe Ben Ari was one of the children expelled from the Vienna school. A current student at the school has been researching his life story. (Courtesy of Elia Ben-Ari)

“There is no question that there are teachers who manage to succeed, who are doing a lot,” said Richelle Bud Caplan, director of the European Department at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and a member of the Claims Conference survey task force.

“It doesn’t have to do with funding. It has to do with support from the school administration to create a local momentum, a learning community,” she said. “We very much want people to focus on individual stories, so youngsters can connect,” and understand that “the majority of those who lived during this complex and difficult period did not survive.”

“Our school has a memorial remembering the fallen soldiers of World War II, but it didn’t have one memorial for the Jewish students,” said Samuel, who walks the same halls and climbs the same stairs that they did.

“I can imagine it was terrible,” he said. On the students’ last day, “mobs formed at the entrance of our school, where a few hardcore teachers and students were spitting and shouting names. So it was not a very kind goodbye, as you can imagine.”

As for Ben-Ari, she regrets that she could not attend the dedication ceremony. But “I think my father would have been gratified to know that somebody read his history and cared about it.”

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