May 1, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Swears in 21st Knesset - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's 21st Knesset held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was reelected, unopposed, to a third term.
    Edelstein spoke of the Jewish people's deep historic roots in Jerusalem "found in Psalms by King David and the Independence Scroll by David Ben-Gurion," and his personal journey as a Prisoner of Zion in the Soviet Union to Knesset Speaker.
    See also Addressing New Knesset, Netanyahu Expresses Hope for Peace with Arab World - Raoul Wootliff (Times of Israel)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told the opening of the 21st Knesset: "Our new hope, which is growing stronger, is for peaceful relations and normal relations with many of our Arab neighbors."

ISIS Still Carrying Out Deadly Attacks in Syria - Ben Hubbard (New York Times)
    Cities and towns across eastern Syria are overwhelmed by rubble. The militias that fought the Islamic State are digging tunnels to prepare for a possible battle against Turkey.
    Thousands of Islamic State fighters have gone underground to launch attacks and plot their comeback.
    "We are talking about a secret organization that is still operating," said Redur Xelil, a senior official with the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that the U.S. backed to fight the jihadists. "It has a network, means of communication and a central command."

Gun-Toting Little Boy Vows to "Shoot Jews" and "Become a Martyr" - Nicola Stow (The Sun-UK)
    A gun-toting boy, who looks to be no older than four, tells his mum that he's "off to Jerusalem" to "shoot the Jews" and "die as a martyr" in a chilling propaganda video from Jordan.
    In the video posted on April 7 and provided by MEMRI, he cries, "It's no big deal, mommy. I will die for the sake of Jerusalem."

Presenting Holocaust Survivors with their "Victory" Photos - Judy Maltz (Ha'aretz)
    Professional photographer Yanai Rubaja has voluntarily taken pictures of close to 300 Holocaust survivors with their families over the past seven years.
    "These photographs show their victory," he tells Ha'aretz. "It's my small gift to them."
    Rubaja has a special Facebook page (in Hebrew) for the project, where all of the photographs are featured.
    Since 2012, Rubaja has photographed survivors of death camps (one even walked out of a gas chamber alive after it malfunctioned) and ghettos, partisan fighters and "hidden children."

Newly Revealed Photographs Chronicle Aftermath of Dachau's Liberation (Times of Israel)
    A previously unknown collection of photographs documenting the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany in 1945 has been unveiled.
    They belonged to Belgian anti-Nazi underground operative Adrian Aloy, who was captured by the Nazis during the war and held at the camp.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Anti-Semitic Attacks Spike, Killing Most Jews in Decades - Aron Heller
    Israeli researchers reported Wednesday that violent attacks against Jews spiked significantly last year, with the largest reported number of Jews killed in anti-Semitic acts in decades, leading to an "increasing sense of emergency" among Jewish communities worldwide. Assaults targeting Jews rose 13% in 2018, according to Tel Aviv University researchers. They recorded nearly 400 cases worldwide, with more than a quarter of the major violent cases taking place in the U.S.
        In Germany, there was a 70% increase in anti-Semitic violence. "There is an increasing sense of emergency among Jews in many countries around the world," said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress. "It is now clear that anti-Semitism is no longer limited to the far-left, far-right and radical Islamist's triangle - it has become mainstream and often accepted by civil society."  (AP-Miami Herald)
  • How Jewish Organizations Train People to Prevent Shootings - Josefin Dolsten
    Michael Masters heads the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish organizations across the U.S. and is affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
        Masters told JTA: "We have seen an increase in targeting of houses of worship generally, and we have seen an increase in targeting of Jewish houses of worship specifically. That coincides with an increase in anti-Semitic incidents around the United States and around the world, as well as an increase in hate crimes against our community and an increase in threats." SCN conducts assessments and recommends security strategies tailored to the needs and circumstances of the particular organization.
        In addition, the Community Security Service has trained more than 4,000 Jewish volunteers across the U.S. in how to keep their synagogues safe. The CSS focuses on preventive measures by training community members to spot suspicious behavior. Synagogues are encouraged to post trained volunteers at their entrances. "There are a lot of ways they can make themselves safer, it just takes time and commitment," said CSS executive director Jason Friedman.
        When CSS was founded in 2007, the primary threats came from international terrorist groups as well as white supremacist organizations. Now they often come from unaffiliated individuals. As a result, less prominent communities, like Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh or Poway, are more vulnerable. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Behind the Palestinian Economic Crisis: Israel Wants the PA to Stop Supporting Terror - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, discussed the Palestinian Authority's latest economic crisis on Israel's Channel 11 TV on Monday:
        Israel wants the PA to stop supporting terror. That's why the money that the PA uses to pay the salaries of terrorists or their families is being deducted from the funds Israel transfers to them. And they're nice salaries too, that grow according to the severity of the terrorist attack.
        That is why Israel argues: "We didn't sign the Oslo Accords in order to get this." We didn't endure all this stress and relinquish territory in order to enable the Palestinians to execute deadlier attacks against us. For this reason, Israel is trying to communicate to the Palestinians that they must cease the detrimental behavior of rewarding terrorists.
        What does Abbas want? He wants to achieve legitimacy so that this course of action can continue. That is why he is willing to forego the 660 million shekels from Israel.
        Israel's interest is that the PA survives financially, not in a manner in which they will encourage terror, but the opposite. We do not want them to function at all costs, but rather on the condition that they uphold their commitments outlined in the Oslo Accords and according to international law, which is to fight terror, not encourage it.
        The PA supports terror. It pays 1.27 billion shekels yearly to terrorists and their families. The main point here is not the 40 million shekels that Israel is withholding from the PA. The Americans withheld 1 billion shekels from the Palestinians, based on U.S. unwillingness to transfer money to the PA while it encourages terrorism. If the Palestinians stop encouraging and financing terror, then the funds being withheld will more than likely return to them, since Israel does not withhold the funds simply to make the Palestinians miserable. (Channel 11 TV-Israel-Hebrew)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • A Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism - Editorial
    The Times published an appalling political cartoon in the opinion pages of its international print edition last week. The cartoon was chosen by a production editor who did not recognize its anti-Semitism. The appearance of such an obviously bigoted cartoon in a mainstream publication is evidence of a profound danger - not only of anti-Semitism but of numbness to its creep, to the insidious way this ancient, enduring prejudice is once again working itself into public view and common conversation.
        For decades, most American Jews felt safe to practice their religion, but now they pass through metal detectors to enter synagogues and schools.
        History teaches that the rise of extremism requires the acquiescence of broader society. Society in recent years has shown healthy signs of increased sensitivity to other forms of bigotry, yet somehow anti-Semitism can often still be dismissed as a disease gnawing only at the fringes of society. That is a dangerous mistake. As recent events have shown, it is a very mainstream problem. (New York Times)
  • Wiesenthal Center Blasts Idea that Jesus Was Palestinian - Yaron Steinbuch
    Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has called out Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for retweeting the claim that "Jesus was a Palestinian." He also took issue with an April 19 New York Times op-ed that stated, "Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin."
        "Palestine was a name made up by Romans after they crucified thousands, destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and exiled the People of Israel from their homeland," Cooper said. "The idea that Jesus was a Palestinian creates a new narrative for Palestinian history, which otherwise does not date back very far....The absurdity of it is breathtaking....In the Gospels, there is no mention of Palestine, only Judea, which is where Jews lived."  (New York Post)

Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Wednesday evening, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
  • Bela Eizenman was born in 1927 in Lodz, Poland, and was imprisoned in the Lodz ghetto. Deported to Auschwitz, she was the last surviving member of her family. She was destined for the gas chambers, but a train to Bergen-Belsen was missing a female prisoner and Bela was sent in her place. In March 1945, she was sent on a death march with other prisoners but escaped. In Israel, Bela studied nursing and served as head nurse in a hospital.
  • Shaul Lubovitz was born in 1934 in Braslav (today in Belarus). A local farmer, Stanislaw Szakel, who was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations, hid Shaul and his relatives on his farm. His uncle then took the family to a group of partisans in the forest. The family reached Israel in 1949. Shaul married Nechama, who was killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in Ramat Gan in 1995.
  • Fanny Ben-Ami was born in 1930 in Baden-Baden, Germany. When Hitler rose to power, her family fled to Paris. The OSE, an organization that rendered aid to Jewish children, smuggled Fanny and a group of children into Switzerland. Her mother took her to the bus and said, "Who knows if we'll see each other again?" They never did. Fanny was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her work in the resistance, but she declined to accept it. She immigrated to Israel in 1956.
  • Menachem Haberman was born in 1927 in Orlova, Czechoslovakia, and lived in Munkacs, which was annexed to Hungary in 1938. In May 1944, the Jews in the Munkacs ghetto were deported to Auschwitz. Menachem, the last surviving member of his family, was put to work removing ashes from the crematoria. Once he fell and nearly drowned in a pool of human ash. Sent by train to Buchenwald, of the 150 prisoners who had been in Menachem's open train carriage, 20 arrived alive. Menachem immigrated to Israel in 1950 and married Rivka, a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands.
  • Sara Shapira was born in 1933 in Radauti in Romanian Bukovina. In 1941, the Romanians deported the Jews of Radauti to Transnistria. During the long journey, many died from the overcrowding, hunger and thirst including Sara's mother and uncle. She was alone at age 9. At a Jewish orphanage in Mogilev she lived in constant hunger. Because beds were in short supply, the children slept on them horizontally. Sara reached Israel in 1948 and married Meir Shapira, a fellow Holocaust survivor. Her son, Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, was killed in a Palestinian shooting attack in the West Bank in 2002.
  • Yehuda Mimon was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1924. In the Krakow ghetto in 1942, he joined the underground group Hehalutz Halohem (The Fighting Pioneer). On December 22, 1942, Yehuda and other resistance members aided in an assault on the Cyganeria cafe in Krakow where German soldiers gathered. Yehuda was arrested and deported to Auschwitz in April 1943. On January 18, 1945, Yehuda and five of his comrades escaped the death march from Auschwitz. He immigrated to Israel in 1946, and returned to Poland in 1963 as First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw.