April 28, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Astronaut Returns Safely to Earth after Mission to Space Station (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Eytan Stibbe and three other astronauts splashed down Monday off the Florida coast after spending two weeks aboard the International Space Station as part of the first private space mission.
    The mission blasted off on April 8 and three businessmen paid $55 million each for the privilege to participate.
    See also Video: NASA SpaceX Axiom-1 Mission Return Splashdown (YouTube)

Report: Turkey Deporting Hamas Members at Israel's Request - Dana Ben-Shimon (Israel Hayom)
    A Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that "Dozens of people identified with Hamas in various circles have been deported. Turkey asked them to leave, and it actually happened in the last few months. Some of the people with ties to Hamas' military wing have been deported."
    "The Israelis gave Turkey a list of Hamas members and information about involvement of some of them in 'military' [terrorist] activity. In response, the Turks contacted Hamas and told them, 'You promised you wouldn't do anything like that here, so now you need to leave'."
    The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar confirmed Tuesday that some Hamas members who had traveled outside Turkey were not being allowed to return.

Secretary of State Blinken Appears to Confirm Iran Is Targeting U.S. Officials - Jimmy Quinn (National Review)
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken seemingly confirmed during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday that Iran is plotting attacks on both current and former U.S. officials.
    Asked, "Is it true that the IRGC is actively trying to murder former senior officials of the United States?," Blinken answered, "I'm not sure what I can say in an open setting, but let me say generically that there is an ongoing threat against American officials both present and past."

Report: Israeli Missiles Destroy Weapons Warehouses at Five Iranian-Backed Militia Outposts in Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights-UK)
    Israeli missiles hit five military outposts early Wednesday belonging to Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed militias including Hizbullah, leading to the destruction of weapons and ammunition warehouses.
    Five Syrians and four Iranian-backed militiamen were killed and more than eight others injured.

Survey Shows Israel-Diaspora Ties Remain Strong among Young U.S. Jews (American Jewish Committee)
    American Jewish Committee surveys of U.S. and Israeli Jewish millennials (aged 25-40) show that Israel-Diaspora relations remain strong.
    72% of young American Jews say it is important that the American Jewish community and Israel maintain close ties, with 48% saying it is very important.
    70% think a strong Israel is necessary for the survival of the Jewish people.
    55% of U.S. Jewish millennials say being connected to Israel is important to their Jewish identity, and 54% feel emotionally attached to Israel.
    52% of American and 24% of Israeli Jewish millennials say a viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is possible.

Border Crossing Reopens for Workers from Gaza to Israel - Roman Meitav (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel reopened the border crossing for the entry of 12,000 Palestinian workers from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday.
    The crossing was closed for two days following Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza at Israel.
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: "We will continue to show civil and economic generosity only if security and stability are maintained."

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Global Jewish Population Not Yet Recovered from WWII - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    83 years since the beginning of World War II and the Holocaust, the Jewish people have still not replenished their numbers, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics.
    In 1939, the world Jewish population stood at 16.6 million; at the end of 2020, it totaled 15.2 million. At the same time, the world population increased from 2.3 billion to 7.9 billion.
    And the good news? The Jewish population in Israel went from 449,000 in 1939 to 6.9 million today.

Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel: Illegal, But Still Active and Branching Out - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    Seven years after Israel made the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement illegal, and a year after its members played a leading role in the incitement that led to riots in mixed cities in May 2021, the group and groups identified with it continue to incite against the state and are involved in fanning the flames among Arab Israelis.
    The leader of the group, Sheikh Raed Salah, who was freed from prison after completing a 16-month sentence for inciting terrorism, has also returned to action.
    The ideology of the Northern Branch remains: opposition to Zionism, non-recognition of the State of Israel's right to exist, and support for and sometimes actively seeking its elimination.
    Deputy head Sheikh Kamal al-Khatibis is today the most extreme voice in the Northern Branch. He frequently talks about the future Caliphate, with "its capital Jerusalem," and declares: "We are sure that the future belongs to Islam....Islam will control this area." 

Poll: Jordanians Prefer Ties with U.S., Wary of Iran - David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    52% of Jordanians say good relations with the U.S. are important, according to a new public opinion poll commissioned by the Washington Institute and conducted in March. Only 17% say good ties with Tehran are important.
    Further, 60% agree that "Wherever Iran intervenes, it hurts the local Arabs and does not help the Palestinians."
    43% picked the U.S. as "the country that can best help protect us against our foreign enemies," while 39% think the U.S. is "the country that will probably be most influential in our region ten years from now."
    However, only 10% have even a "somewhat" favorable opinion about the 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel and four Arab states.
    The same low percentage agree that "people who want to have business or sports contact with Israelis should be allowed to do so."

Iraqi Columnist: Normalization with Israel Is Not Treason (MEMRI)
    On March 26, 2022, Ali Al-Sarraf, an Iraqi journalist who resides in Britain, wrote in the Emirati daily Al-Arab:
    "For a long time, the Palestinian revolutionaries saw recognition of Israel as a reprehensible crime, but eventually they themselves recognized it."
    "We spent 20 years accusing Egypt of treason for signing the Camp David Accords, until we realized that 'there will be no war [against Israel] without Egypt'."
    "Forty years of exporting the [Iranian] revolution, namely of waging wars, forming militias and destabilizing the region, radically changed the perception of who the [Arabs'] enemies and friends are, and who is and isn't worthy of normalizing relations with."
    "In Iraq alone, Iran has committed crimes against us that Israel never committed...not to mention Syria and Yemen, and the tragic situation in Lebanon."
    "Half the Syrian nation has been dispersed in every direction, due to a decision by Iran and its militias."

Photos - Women on the Front Lines: Inside the Combat Units of the Israeli Army - Daniel Tchetchik (Ha'aretz)
    Photographer Debbie Zimelman immigrated to Israel when she was 22, considered too old to enlist in the Israeli army.
    After living in Israel for 30 years, she received permission from the IDF to photograph women who had volunteered to serve in combat units.
    Her book offers a deeper look into the modern phenomenon of women in combat through interviews and magnificent photos.

Nazi's "Perfect Aryan Baby" Was Jewish - Robert Rockaway (Tablet)
    On Jan. 24, 1935, the Nazi family magazine Sonne ins Haus published a front-page photograph of the winner of a competition for "the perfect Aryan child" - a beautiful 6-month-old baby girl named Hessy Levinsons.
    Unbeknownst to the judges, Hessy was Jewish. Her parents were unaware that Berlin photographer Hans Ballin, who had taken what they thought was a private family photo, had entered it in the photo contest.
    Ballin put Hessy's photograph along with nine others into an envelope and sent it to the office of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, knowing full well that Hessy was Jewish.
    He deliberately entered Hessy's photograph into the contest because "I wanted to make the Nazis look foolish."
    Many years later, Hessy, whose family escaped to France and then to Cuba in 1942, was asked what she would say today to the photographer.
    "I would tell him, good for you for having the courage. I can laugh about it now, but if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn't be alive."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pentagon Opposed De-listing Iran Guards If No Reciprocal Iranian Concession - Laura Rozen
    "The Iranians wanted us to remove the IRGC" terror listing, a senior U.S. official told me. "We gave them lots of options for non-nuclear concessions and commitments they could make in return." The Iranians apparently said no. "The Defense Department, in particular, was not keen, in the absence of Iran giving a non-nuclear concession, to delist the IRGC. That is where the president landed."  (Diplomatic)
  • In Syria, Iranian Forces Fill Gaps Left by Ukraine-Bound Russians - Arie Egozi
    Intelligence sources say Russians have pulled out of key Syrian facilities, and Syria has welcomed hundreds of advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in their place. Israeli defense sources say this could lead to an easier flow of weapons to Iran's proxy forces in Lebanon. At the same time, Iranian militias, under the supervision of the IRGC, began building new headquarters and warehouses, in addition to a new training camp for Hizbullah on the outskirts of Aleppo.
        Last week the Saudi Al-Hadath channel reported that an underground Iranian facility in Syria dubbed "Project 99" is developing ballistic missiles, chemical weapons and UAVs, and is under the control of Hizbullah and the IRGC. (Breaking Defense)
  • New Jersey Man Was "Sleeper Agent" for Hizbullah - Ben Feuerherd
    New Jersey software engineer Alexei Saab, 45, "posed as a regular guy," all while gathering intelligence on a number of New York City landmarks, tunnels and bridges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Adelsberg said at the start of his trial Monday. "In reality, he was a sleeper agent for Hizbullah ready to strike."
        Saab was recruited by the terror organization as a college student in Lebanon and rose up the ranks, ultimately enlisting in the "external security organization," Unit 910. In the early 2000s, Hizbullah dispatched Saab and other spies to the U.S. - putting them in place to kill Americans if the U.S. attacked Iran.
        As he surveilled potential targets for Hizbullah, Saab determined if the locations had weaknesses or "soft spots" - and where a bomb would have to be planted to cause the most harm. A U.S. citizen since 2008, he was arrested by the feds in 2019. (New York Post)
  • Photos: Israel Halts for Holocaust Day, Honors 6 Million Jews Killed
    Israel came to a standstill at 10 a.m. on Thursday as the country honored the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. People halted where they were walking, and drivers stopped their cars to get out of the vehicles as people bowed their heads in memory of the victims of the Nazi genocide. (AP-Daily Mail-UK)
        See also below Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day in Israel
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to UN: Palestinian Terrorists to Blame for Temple Mount Violence in Jerusalem - Tovah Lazaroff
    Palestinian terrorists are responsible for the violent riots on the Temple Mount during the last weeks, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the UN Security Council on Monday. "The only ones breaking the status quo on the Temple Mount are the Palestinian terror groups inflaming the holy sites. Hundreds of Palestinian terrorists rioting on the Temple Mount posed a threat to both Muslims and Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall, and therefore the Israeli police had to intervene."
        "Many in the international community called for 'calm on both sides'," but such a demand was "completely detached from reality. The very notion that mobs of violent rioters motivated by radical Islamic terror groups could be placed on the same moral scale as a law-abiding democracy making every effort to keep the peace is ludicrous."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also UN Middle East Envoy Agrees with Israeli Account of Temple Mount Riots - Jacob Magid
    UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council on Monday: "On 15 April, during the early morning hours, a large number of Palestinians gathered at the Al Aqsa compound. Some Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and other heavy objects toward Israeli security forces (ISF)....Several dozen Palestinians entered a mosque in the compound, with some continuing to throw stones and fireworks toward ISF. Following a standoff with those inside, Israeli police entered the mosque and arrested those barricaded inside."
        "Despite the tensions, overall, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Jews, and Christians have been able to celebrate the holy days in and around the Old City in relative peace."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians Open Fire at Israeli Soldiers in West Bank - Jack Khoury
    A Palestinian man was killed and four were wounded during an exchange of fire with the Israeli army in the West Bank early Wednesday as soldiers from the Duvdevan counterterrorism unit were carrying out arrests in the Jenin refugee camp. Dozens of Palestinians opened fire and hurled explosives at the Israeli force. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Arrests Islamic Jihad Terror Cell in West Bank - Yaniv Kubovich
    The Israel Security Agency announced Monday the arrest of seven West Bank Islamic Jihad operatives who were planning to carry out terror attacks against Israelis. They had been recruited and instructed by jihadists from Gaza. Members of the cell built a "high-quality rocket-like explosive device" under the guidance of their Gaza handlers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Thwarts Weapon Smuggling Attempt from Lebanon - Ahiya Raved
    Israel foiled a weapon smuggling attempt from Lebanon on Monday night, seizing 100 grenades and two rifles. The police said, "The fact that grenades were seized - an unusual weapon that was never uncovered during smuggling raids in the past - raises the suspicion that they were intended for attacks in crowded civilian places." Since the beginning of 2022, Israeli forces thwarted dozens of smuggling attempts, seizing 148 pistols, 23 assault rifles and other weapons. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Former Iranian Official Admits "Iran Was Trying to Build Nuclear Weapons" - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Iran Desk
    On April 24, 2022, the former Deputy Chairman of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Motahhari, said in an interview that from the start of its nuclear program, Iran sought to produce nuclear weapons. "At the beginning, when we launched the nuclear program, our aim was to develop the bomb and improve our deterrent power."
        Motahhari quoted parts of the Quran's Surah al Anfal (60): "And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy. However, we failed to keep it a secret, and our confidential reports were revealed" by the exiled opposition organization Mujahideen Khalq.
        "If we could have developed a bomb secretly and tested it like Pakistan did, it would have been a strong deterrent and international players would have been more considerate of Iran's status. Other countries rely on nuclear strength. I believe that when we start something, we should see it through to the end."
        Ali Motahhari is the son of Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, one of the founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran and an ideologist who was close to Khomeini and headed the Revolutionary Council during the inception of the Islamic Revolution.
        Motahhari's words sparked great interest in the world media, and various state-run Iranian media hastened to deny them. The Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA) that published the interview re-edited it and removed the parts on Iran's original intentions to produce nuclear weapons.
        The writer is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • State Department Report Highlights Concerns over Undeclared Nuclear Activities in Iran - Editorial
    A little-noticed line in a State Department report published last week makes a good case for formally walking away from efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "The United States has concluded that serious concerns remained outstanding regarding possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran," according to State's annual report on compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements. The document notes that Iran has not fully cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is trying to investigate possible secret nuclear activity at four sites around the country.
        Iran's refusal to cooperate with the IAEA on the suspect sites is the best signal that renewing the deal is misguided. How can the U.S. negotiate a return to a nuclear deal if it can't verify all of Iran's nuclear activity? There are many reasons for the White House to walk away from talks with Iran, but the lack of meaningful verification is at the top of the list. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • A New Approach to Quelling the Violence - Ehud Yaari
    Calls for Palestinian restraint fall on deaf ears as long as certain other players are continually encouraging Palestinian youth to resort to violence. But the U.S. has leverage among a number of these players and should use it. Qatar, recently crowned by the U.S. as a major non-NATO ally, has become the primary cheerleader for Palestinian terrorism. Its ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, directs his media empire led by al-Jazeera to pour oil onto the flames.
        For years Qatar has been hosting and financing Hamas leadership, including many operatives involved in initiating attacks on Israel. The U.S. should back Israel by serving notice that Qatar's financial assistance to the Palestinians will no longer be permitted as long as Qatar persists in encouraging violence.
        A principled policy aimed at changing the bloody rules of the game should have been enacted years ago, but it isn't too late to do so now. A good first step would be to persuade Jordan, Egypt, the Emirates, Morocco and others to denounce the Palestinians' violation of the sanctity of the al-Aqsa mosque.
        The writer, a fellow with the Washington Institute, is a veteran commentator for Israeli television. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Apartheid on the Temple Mount - Stephen Daisley
    If you're after evidence of apartheid, the Israel Police has declared the Temple Mount in Jerusalem off-limits to non-Muslims for ten days. Religious discrimination against non-Muslims is routine on the Temple Mount, which is governed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian religious trust.
        Limiting Jewish access to the hill does not stop Palestinian terror groups, preachers and media routinely prompting riots with false claims that the Zionists are "storming Al-Aqsa." Israeli police operations to curtail the rioting are then packaged by the international media and NGOs as a wanton Israeli attack on Muslim holy sites and worshipers. The mosque is said to be "desecrated" by Israeli police entering to stop rioting but not by the rioting itself. It is taken as a given that Israel ought to cede sovereignty in its capital city.
        Yet this commitment to Western values only goes one way. It is not applied to Palestinian demands for a Jew-free state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, nor to Palestinian prohibitions - backed up by the death penalty - against selling property to Jews. Most noticeably, it does not apply when Israel discriminates against its Jewish citizens and restricts their liberty of movement and freedom to manifest their religious faith. (Spectator-UK)
  • Palestinian Authority Curriculum Ramps Up Incitement - David Isaac
    Despite calls for reform, the Palestinian Authority curriculum has ramped up its incitement in recent years, with learning materials filled with anti-Semitism and rejection of reconciliation with Israel. On April 20, Marcus Sheff, CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), told the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control about the PA's new "study cards," released in August. They were "in some cases more violent and more inciteful than the curriculum that we've seen before."
        The cards teach that Jews control the world, glorify suicide bombers and that those who kill infidels will go to paradise. "Newton's laws of physics are still taught through a young girl using a slingshot. Eight-year-olds are taught math by counting martyrs. Girls are taught that to be equal with boys, they need to become martyrs," he said, adding that a teachers' guide "instructs educators to punish students for not connecting the Jewish religion with murder."
        Arik Agassi, chief operating officer of IMPACT-se, said, "We expected pushback. It was quite the opposite. They've had enough." Sheff said the EU Commission also said it wasn't going to hand over 200 million euros annually until the PA made "significant changes to the textbooks."  (JNS)

  • Other Issues

  • American Jews Who Support Israel Stand for the Very Best of Our American Heritage and Values - Amb. David Friedman
    "Support for Israel is actually a quintessential American value. Indeed, the Bible, so much of which is predicated upon God's covenant to our forefathers to install, and then later to restore, the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, is foundational to the principles upon which America was founded....The values of the Bible are deeply infused within our foundational roots."
        "How did our founding fathers know which rights God considered unalienable? Our founders knew, because they all read the Bible. There can be no question that the American Republic was sculpted from the lessons of the Bible. Not surprisingly, all of the unalienable rights identified in the Declaration of Independence - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - find their home in the Bible."
        "Understanding America's biblical heritage also is to understand why the United States opened a consulate in Jerusalem in 1844, 104 years before the State of Israel came into existence....It is also to understand why almost every state in the union has cities and towns named after cities and towns in biblical Israel, from Bethlehem to Shilo to Bethel to Hebron to Jericho to Nazareth to Zion to even Jerusalem."
        Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman spoke on April 19 at Bar-Ilan University's Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies. (JNS)
  • Criticizing Israel Has Become a Permanent Obsession - Amb. Alan Baker
    The penchant for criticizing Israel, whatever it may or may not do, appears to have become a permanent obsession. Whether such criticism relates to Israel's internal policies, or to governance of the territories, responses to terror attacks, or whether it relates to situations with no apparent linkage to Israel, the necessity to find linkage to Israel inevitably emerges.
        No society or country is beyond rational criticism, but as a member of the world community, Israel has never benefited from the equality to which every other state is entitled. Since its establishment, Israel has been denied one of the basic principles guaranteed to all states by the UN Charter - the principle of sovereign equality. This discrimination takes the form of exclusion from UN regional groupings and preventing Israel's right to submit its candidacy and candidates to main UN organs such as the Security Council or the International Court of Justice.
        Palestinians voice concern that the international community is overly immersed in the Russia-Ukraine war rather than pursuing Israel. Their expressions of indignation seek to equate the low-intensity Israeli-Palestinian dispute with the high-intensity open warfare conducted by Russia against Ukraine, with its massive bombardment of civilians, use of illegal weaponry and millions of refugees. This malicious attempt to invent a false equation is indicative of the blindness caused by the obsession to criticize Israel.
        The writer, who heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ukraine, Israel, and the Meaning of "Never Again" - Fiamma Nirenstein
    The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine cannot be stopped by mere words for reasons with which Israelis are extremely familiar. First, the Russian aggressor, for ideological reasons, doesn't want peace. It wants to subjugate Ukraine and force it to submit to the Russian empire. Ideology is also why it is currently impossible for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinians don't want it, because their ideology demands Israel's obliteration.
        Moreover, even if Ukraine surrendered part of its territory to Russia, it would make no difference, because Russia would become even more aggressive. Any territorial concession by Ukraine will simply serve as a platform for more Russian attacks. We can learn this by looking at the situation in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal in 2005.
        Those who advocate for peace must be guided by a historical and political reality: Peace can be made only with those who do not want war and do not have an ideological preference for violence. In the Middle East, "never again" means "stand up and fight."
        The writer, former vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • Growing Integration and Prosperity for Israeli Arabs at Risk from Forces that Crave Victory over Jews - Melanie Phillips
    Over the past few weeks there has been sustained rioting on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. From the al-Aqsa mosque, Arabs hurled stones, iron bars and petrol bombs on to Jews worshipping below at the Western Wall. This forced the Israeli police to enter the compound to restore order.
        Israel's Arab citizens, who number around 1.9 million, 20% of the population, are different from Palestinian Arabs living in the disputed territories of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, or Gaza. Among Israel's own Arab citizens there has been signs of increasing prosperity and integration in recent years. The Arab Israeli middle class is growing and the share of Arab students at Israeli colleges and universities has nearly doubled over the last 12 years. In 2020, more than 1,000 volunteered to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), more than twice the number of previous years.
        Yet in May 2021, when Israeli forces were at war with Hamas in Gaza, Arab Israelis rioted in Jaffa, Lod, Acre, Ramle and Haifa, where they had lived peacefully alongside their Jewish neighbors for decades. The mobs burnt synagogues and schools, stoned Jews in more than 5,000 attacks, and set homes and cars on fire. So among Israel's Arabs, both assimilation and radicalization have been simultaneously accelerating. (The Times-UK)
        See also The Forces Driving the Israeli Arab Sector from the Galilee to the Negev (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Macron II, the Jews, and Israel - Amb. Freddy Eytan
    The re-election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France was predictable in the face of the election campaign's demonization of Marine Le Pen. The leaders of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF and the Consistoire (representing Jewish congregations) were wrong to intervene openly in the campaign by calling for a massive vote for the re-election of Macron as if there really was a decisive Jewish vote that could have weighed on the results of the elections.
        French Jewish institutions have a duty to forcefully combat extremist opinions and incitement to hatred. There can be no rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators, no forgiveness for Holocaust deniers. However, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel remarks are also constantly made by the French extreme left, specific media, and intellectuals, and we cannot ignore the strengthening of Jean-Luc Melenchon's leftist party in the first round.
        On the Arab-Israeli conflict, Macron and Le Pen espouse a similar policy, while Melenchon is much more radical and opposed to Israel. All three support the creation of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. All three demand Israel's withdrawal from all the territories, and all three favor dialogue with the ayatollahs of Iran.
         The writer is a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels and was Israel's first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Anti-Semitic Incidents at All-Time High in U.S.
    Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 2,717 in 2021, a 34% increase over 2020, including 88 incidents of assault (up from 33 in 2020), 1,776 incidents of harassment (up from 1,242 in 2020), and 853 incidents of vandalism (up from 751 in 2020). The states with the highest number of incidents were New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112) and Texas (112), together accounting for 58% of the total. (Anti-Defamation League)
        See also Dramatic Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, and Australia
    Our Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2021 noted sharp increases in the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents compared to 2020, resulting from the strengthening in some countries of the radical populist right and the anti-Zionist radical left. (Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry-Tel Aviv University)
  • Palestinian March in Toronto a Shocking Display of Anti-Semitism - Brian Lilley
    Anti-Semitism was on full display on Sunday in Toronto, when protesters called for Israel to be wiped off the map and cheered rockets being fired at civilians. "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," cried out the woman on the back of a pickup truck, as the crowd repeated her chant. It's a cry that claims all land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea for a Palestinian homeland - a one-state solution. "Jews, by numbers, remain the most targeted group for hate crimes in Canada, and this type of rhetoric and hatred in our streets only makes it worse," said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B'nai B'rith Canada.
        There have been two-state solutions on the table for more than 100 years and at every turn, the people claiming to speak for the Palestinian people have rejected those offers, refusing peace at all costs. Instead of calling for Israel to be destroyed and cheering attacks on civilians, the people taking part in the shameful march on Sunday should be calling out the Palestinian leadership. (Toronto Sun-Canada)

  • Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day in Israel

  • Hubert Pollack Helped Save 10,000 Jews from the Nazis - Yaakov Schwartz
    Dr. Hubert Pollack is to posthumously receive the Jewish Rescuers Citation along with 12 other Holocaust-era heroes on Thursday, which marks Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. The award was created in 2011 by the B'nai B'rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) to honor the Jewish rescue of fellow Jews. Yad Vashem honors non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews.
        In the 1930s, Pollack worked in Berlin as a statistician for the German government, and also for Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal. Together with Wilfrid Israel, a wealthy businessman, as well as Cpt. Francis Foley, an MI5 agent who worked at the British Embassy in Berlin, Pollack helped execute a plan to issue thousands of exit visas for German Jews seeking to escape the Nazi regime. It involved Pollack bribing Gestapo officials with money given to him by Israel. Foley issued visas allowing the refugees into British territory - including British Mandate Palestine.
        Pollack left Germany with his family in August 1939, just one month before World War II broke out, and came to pre-state Israel. Except for giving testimony in 1944 to an organization that would become Yad Vashem, he is not known to have spoken about the rescue operation again. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Home to 165,000 Holocaust Survivors
    There are 165,000 people living in Israel who are recognized by the state as Holocaust survivors, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday. Their average age is 85. (Times of Israel)
        See also 15,500 Holocaust Survivors Died in Israel over the Past Year - Bar Peleg (Ha'aretz)
  • Germany's Parliamentary President Visits Israel for Holocaust Remembrance
    Bundestag President Barbel Bas visited the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem on Wednesday. She wrote in the guest book that: "We must not forget. Germans wiped out 6 million lives. I think of the dead in deep grief and shame." The Holocaust was the systematic murder of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators across German-occupied Europe between 1941 and 1945. Around 2/3 of Europe's Jewish population died in pogroms, mass shootings or German extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
  • New Investigations of Nazi Crimes Open in Denmark, Italy and Belarus - Zvika Klein
    77 years after the Holocaust ended, new investigations of Nazi crimes in Denmark, Italy and Belarus have been opened. The mass murder of more than 250 Hungarian Jews by Danish SS volunteers in the final weeks of World War II in Graz, Austria, has only recently been discovered. (Jerusalem Post)

Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins on Wednesday, April 27, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
  • Shmuel Blumenfeld was born in 1926 in Krakow, Poland. In early 1942 he was arrested and sent to the Plaszow forced labor camp with his father who was murdered there. He escaped deportation to the Belzec extermination camp but was sent to Auschwitz where he worked in a coal mine. In January 1945 he was sent on a death march to Buchenwald. After serving in the IDF, he joined the prison service. During the Eichmann trial, Shmuel was one of Eichmann's guards. "I showed him the number on my arm." Shmuel Blumenfeld passed away on April 15, 2022.
  • Rebecca Elizur was in the first grade when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. The family was arrested in 1942 and taken to the Westerbork transit camp, where deportation trains left weekly for the extermination camps in Eastern Europe. Because her father had a British passport, they were assigned to be exchanged for Germans held by the Allies. Instead of being sent east, the family was deported to Bergen-Belsen. In April 1945, Rebecca and her family were put on a train but the train was bombed. A few days later, they were liberated. Rebecca returned to Amsterdam and immigrated to Israel in 1959.
  • Zvi Gill was born in 1928 in Zduriska Wola, Poland. In 1942 his father and brothers were taken to the gas trucks in Chelmno, while Zvi and his mother were transported in cattle cars to the Lodz ghetto. Deported to Auschwitz in 1944, he was sent to a forced labor camp and then to Dachau. He collapsed during forced labor in a heavy snowstorm but was saved by an older German guard. He arrived in Israel in 1945, fought in the War of Independence, and became a senior journalist with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
  • Olga Kay was born in 1926 in Ujfeherto, Hungary. In May 1944, her family was deported to Auschwitz, where most of the family went straight to the gas chambers, while she and her sister Eva were sent to work. In July they were sent to the Kaufering concentration camp in Germany and in November were transferred to Bergen-Belsen. When she was liberated on April 15, 1945, she weighed 55 pounds. In 1985, Olga immigrated from the U.S. to Israel.
  • Arie Shilansky was born in 1928 in Siauliai, Lithuania. In June 1941, the Germans invaded and a few weeks later, the family was imprisoned in a ghetto. In November 1943, most of the children were taken away while their parents were at work, while Arie hid in a factory. In July 1944 he was sent to the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland, then to a sub-camp of Dachau in Germany, and was liberated in May 1945. In 1948, he immigrated to Israel and fought in the War of Independence.
  • Shaul Spielmann was born in 1931 in Vienna, Austria. In September 1942, the family was sent to the Terezin ghetto and in November 1943, they were deported to Auschwitz. Shaul's name was on the list of prisoners destined for extermination, but his father Benno, who worked in the camp office as a registrar, moved it to a list of older boys, thus saving him from death. In January 1945, Shaul and the other prisoners were forced on a death march. "We walked in forests, on paths strewn with corpses. At night, the prisoners lay on the ground in the frost; by morning, some had frozen to death." After liberation he immigrated to Israel and fought in the War of Independence and subsequent Israeli wars. He worked in Magen David Adom, saving many lives.
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