Wednesday, January 06, 2016

From Ian:

A Pro-Hamas Left Emerges
And “So what?” it might be asked. What does it matter that the academic Left yet again criticizes Israel and supports the aims of its enemies? In fact, it matters quite a bit, because political struggles are ultimately battles about ideas and their meaning. What begins in the universities and enjoys the prestige associated with them filters into journalism, the highbrow journals of opinion, the editorials of the media, and the policy think tanks in Washington. In the process, it fosters at best a language of moral equivalence regarding Israel and Hamas. It is also reflected in courses taught in the universities, which in turn have an impact on coming generations. A refusal to speak frankly about the ideas animating Hamas and other Islamist terrorist organizations has become a litmus test for left-wing identity. The fear of being called “Islamophobic” or “right-wing” has the effect of silencing criticism among liberals who don’t want to field criticism on their left.
Moreover, now that the Republican Party’s traditional support for vigorous American leadership is under challenge from a neo-isolationist right, it is all the more important that centrists in the Democratic Party recognize and vigorously respond to the challenge from an effectively pro-Hamas left. We need a renewed “militant democracy” in the center of American politics and intellectual life, one that fights totalitarian ideologies and movements no matter their source. Both within the academy and in the world of politics and policy in Washington, it is essential that there be much more frank speech about the nature of groups such as Hamas. There are some welcome signs that some in the political establishment are finding their voices about these issues. In the academy the voices of “Historians Against the War” are not a majority, but they shout the loudest and are well organized. For those of us in the academy who take a different view, it would be most helpful if more of our political leaders would also speak frankly on these matters. The arrows of influence in the history of ideas and politics can flow in both directions. It is important that they do so.
Stop Worrying About Israel
Inequality is rising. The tie to Barack Obama’s America has been fraying while the European Union is playing with boycotts of Israeli goods and, as in Britain, Israeli academics. There won’t be peace with the Palestinians in this generation, not with the failing state that is the Palestinian Authority. Nor is Israel exactly pining for a two-state deal, not after 20 years of rightward drift. So the pessimists may well be the realists in the accursed lands of the Levant.
But sheer angst à la Rosenbaum? Israel’s strategic and economic superiority is the fitting antidote, as least for level-headed analysts. To boot, there are always miracles afoot in the Not-So-Promised Land. Jewish immigration to Israel reached a 15-year high in 2015, with around 30,000 new arrivals. They come from France where terror against Jewish institutions has become the New Normal. They hail from economic basket cases like Putin’s Russia and war-torn Ukraine. These folks apparently don’t believe that Israel is doomed. Israel’s Bureau of Statistics projects a population of 11 to 12 million for 2035.
“Traumatized,” as Rosenbaum claims, Israel is not. To the contrary, Israel ranks No. 11 in the World Happiness Report, ahead of Canada and the United States. In the world’s fertility ranking, Israel is No. 1 among all Western nations—with 3 births per woman of child-bearing age; the United States comes in at 1.9, and the Europeans at around 1.4. Just to keep the population constant requires 2.1. Fertility isn’t just a statistic. It reflects a nation’s trust in the future. With a rate way above replenishment, Israelis don’t seem to believe that their country is headed for a speedy demise, as foreseen by Rosenbaum.
He approvingly quotes the Jewish thinker Emil Fackenheim who invoked the “614th Commandment” (after the 613 traditional ones): “Thou shall give to Hitler no posthumous victories.” That victory is now “so close,” our soothsayer avers. As a trope of Jewish angst, “Hitler” is of course impossible to beat. As any psychiatrist will tell you, “don’t be afraid” is as productive as homeopathy. It is more reassuring to tally the economic and strategic trends that favor Israel more than at any time in its existence. They don’t corroborate Rosenbaum’s prediction that Israel’s “days are numbered.”
If you don’t trust the hard stuff, take a cue from Sholem Aleichem who quipped: “No matter how bad things get, you have to go on living, even if it kills you.” This is how Jews have survived for 5776 years.
Ariel University defeats the boycott movement
Ariel University in Samaria has been given 430,000 shekels (just over $100,000) in compensation by the Spanish government, after Spain refused to allow the university's students to take part in an international competition.
It happened six years ago, when the Spanish government gave in to pressure from the BDS movement that seeks to boycott Israel. Spain refused to allow Ariel University students to take part in a competition to design "green" environmentally-friendly buildings, which was meant to be open to students from all universities worldwide.
Ariel University students reached the finals of the competition with their design, according to Yedioth Aharonoth.
Their design, entitled "Abraham's Tent," garnered great international interest, but the boycott movement began working overtime to have the students banned from the competition for the simple fact that they study in Samaria.

‘Netanyahu at War’ Picks Diametrically Opposed Left-Right Views on Rabin Murder
Frontline’s “Netanyahu at War,” which had its premier showing on PBS Tuesday night, depicts the Israeli politician as a feisty character who does not shy away from confrontation, and, in fact, relishes it. In that context, his battle with President Obama over the Iran nuclear deal is seen as just one in a long series of fights Netanyahu has been engaged in since the beginning of his political career. He may not be your favorite political figure, the film argues, but you must admire him for his oodles of testosterone, if for nothing else. And like the Israeli leader or not, it’s impossible not to admire his tenacity.
In that context, the film stops short of actually blaming the Rabin assassination on the atmosphere that Netanyahu generated during the election campaign. For one thing, it relies heavily on left-wing speakers for the narrative, so that, for instance, Rabin’s callused alienation of the right does not exist in the film, nor is his expressed view that he was only the prime minister of most of the people.
PBS: Netanyahu at War

PM's office claims Indyk made up story of conversation with Netanyahu at Rabin funeral
The Prime Minister's Office accused former US Mideast envoy Martin Indyk of fabricating a conversation he said he had with Benjamin Netanyahu at Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in 1995, when Netanyahu was head of the Opposition.
Indyk, who in various speeches and interviews over the last few months has been sharply critical of Netanyahu and his policies, said in a PBS Frontline program on Netanyahu that aired Tuesday evening that he sat next to Netanyahu at Rabin's funeral. Indyk at the time was US ambassador to Israel.
“I remember Netanyahu saying to me: “Look, look at this,” Indyk said. “He’s a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician.”
Indyk continued: “So I think even at that moment of tremendous support, a tragic moment of support for Rabin, Netanyahu was thinking, well, politically he was on the ropes before he was assassinated. He exploited that and ran against Oslo in the [1996] elections and beat [Shimon] Peres, but he only beat him by something like a half of 1 percent.”
The Prime Minister's Office issued a “blanket denial,” saying that what Indyk said “never happened.”
How Israel Passed the Justice Test
Had the Duma crime been carried out by an Arab against an Israeli family Palestinians would have cheered. Had it been perpetrated by Arabs in an Arab country against the members of any religious minority, the odds are those responsible would never have been arrested, let alone the full resources of the nation deployed to find them.
It is sad that even a small minority of Jews think that “revenge” for the many Arab attacks on Jews is understandable, let alone defensible. But what these few misguided people seem to forget that Israel is right to insist on being judged by a higher standard than the complacency with which most of the world views Arab terrorism against Jews. As Israel has proved over the decades, doing so does not mean it cannot defend itself against terror. Israel has thrived and grown in strength because it is a democracy and a place where the rule of law prevails even against Jews who kill Arabs or the powerful who abuse the system (see Olmert, Ehud).
Those who care about Israel may not think there is anything extraordinary about this. But at a time when so many intellectual elites have deluded themselves into believing lies about it being an “apartheid state,” these facts must not be ignored.
In the Duma case, Israel has past the justice test by which we rightly judge civilized states. Peace with the Palestinians will become possible only when they are prepared to meet the same standard.
'Anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism are the same thing'
Leibler mentioned that he had in vain raised the issue of setting up a government controlled counter-propaganda body with Prime Minister Netanyahu on several occasions, as had others. He said that this probably was due to the fact that the Prime Minister had so many other problems to deal with. He also asked Gerstenfeld why the government didn’t act.
Answering this, Gerstenfeld listed a number of reasons, saying that the Israeli government thinks that as long as exports rise, even to countries with governments hostile to Israel, the propaganda against Israel is apparently not so damaging. Furthermore, the fragmentation of the attacks makes the overall reality difficult to understand for several Israeli cabinet members, who have never lived abroad and have limited understanding of the current culture of the West. To that comes according to the author that many Israeli officials are happy with the aliyah even if it does not result from Zionist convictions but rather from problems in the country they migrate from.
Yet another point Gerstenfeld made was that there is a millennial masochistic tradition among Jews, and many Israelis like Jews think it is normal to be attacked.
He did note however that while there have been many propaganda attacks by its enemies, each of which make Israel bleed a little bit, there hasn’t been a single major success of the anti-Israel propaganda which has created the feeling that something had to be done in a far more serious way than is the case at present. He concluded by way of example the Palestinian Authority's efforts to persuade the international soccer association FIFA to expel Israel, which ultimately flopped.
It may well take an event of that magnitude to force the government to finally take the million propaganda cuts against the country seriously, he opined.
Netanyahu: UN anti-Israel bias hasn’t changed since ‘Zionism is racism’ libel
The UN ignores tyranny while condemning democratic Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a special Knesset session Monday marking the 40th anniversary of former ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog’s speech decrying Resolution 3379, which declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”
Herzog famously tore up the resolution at the General Assembly podium, calling it “based on falsehood, hatred and arrogance, is devoid of any moral or legal value. For us, the Jewish people, this is nothing more than a piece of paper, and we will treat it as such.”
Netanyahu, who is also a former ambassador to the UN, called Resolution 3379 an “unprecedented moral nadir” for the organization, which “provided the platform for the libel of racism, turning into an organization that perpetuates the lines of division between states.
“Not only did it not help find solutions, it deepened the conflicts and stood on the side of tyranny against democracy,” he said.
The prime minister said the “Zionism is racism” resolution was a watershed moment in the history of anti-Semitism, in that previously, hatred of Jews arose in one country or another, but this was the first time an international institution was used to that end.
Mideast Facts
A. At no time in history did Israel occupy the Gaza Strip or the West Bank from Palestine.
C. The weapons blockade on Gaza started two years after Israel’s pull out from Gaza and was a reaction to non-stop missile fire.
D. Hamas targets civilians and their missiles are aimed ONLY at civilian Israeli communities.
J. The Hamas charter still calls for the total annihilation and genocide of the Jewish people.
K. Never in the history of the world was there an act of Genocide that numbered 2000 people. Especially when a big part of that number were terrorists!
Lessons We Palestinians Can Learn
Opinion polls show that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians support an armed campaign against Israel, and want to see Israel destroyed and a State of Palestine built on its ruins. The polls also show a troubling increase in popular support in the West Bank for Hamas, and a decrease in support for Mahmoud Abbas.
The greatest tragedy of the Palestinians is not 1948, it is 2015. The only thing the Palestinian leadership and terrorist organizations can agree on is their obsession to destroy the State of Israel.
It is particularly disappointing that we keep trying to defraud the Israelis and Americans with fictitious messages of peace and "two states for two peoples." We assume they have no intelligence at all, do not understand Arabic and cannot read our Facebook pages.
The time has come to try creating -- for the first time -- a peaceful and demilitarized Palestinian state, which the Israelis have indicated for decades they would be happy to help us achieve.
PA angered by reports Israel thinks it may collapse
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of "plotting" against the PA after he suggested the PA's collapse may be imminent.
Israeli ultra-leftist daily Ha'aretz reported that Netanyahu said during a meeting of Israel's diplomacy-security cabinet late Monday that Israel needs to prepare for the PA's collapse.
"We must prevent the Palestinian Authority from collapsing if possible, but at the same time, we must prepare in case it happens," Netanyahu was quoted as saying.
The PA foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the Ma'an news agency that Netanyahu's comments were an attempt to "mislead" the international community, and part of ongoing "campaigns of lies and incitement (he) has been systematically conducting against the Palestinian people, their rights and achievements."
The ministry condemned Netanyahu's government for weakening the PA even as it "sheds crocodile tears and claims it is concerned about the PA and its continuity."
Father Naddaf: Bethlehem is Now a Terrorist Temple
The climate in Bethlehem is not favorable to Christians—the PA this past week has arrested 16 Salafi activists who were planning terror attacks against Christian tourists in Bethlehem, whilst the car taken by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem was stoned by Palestinian Muslim rioters.
Yet, whilst the PA leadership arrests some radicals who favor terrorism, they glorify others. On a social media page of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, we see Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem together with the Mufti of Bethlehem, ‘Abd Al-Majid ‘Amarna, in front of a Christmas tree adorned with pictures of Palestinian “martyrs”. Such “martyrs” include Abu Ali Mustafa, General Secretary of the PFLP terror group. Mustafa was responsible in his leadership role for overseeing several PFLP car bomb terror attacks in 2001.
Attitudes amongst Christian leaders in Bethlehem are also cause for concern. Over at the local theology school, Bethlehem Bible College, their teacher Sami Awad proudly commemorated Mustafa in a ceremony, whilst another teacher at the school Salim Munayer boasts of his family ties to the PFLP’s founder George Habash. Munayer also argues that Hamas’ terror tunnels are actually used for “food and drink.”
UK ex-Labour head promised to recognize 'Palestine' if elected
While branding the Labour and Conservative parties as "two sides of the same coin," the PA envoy noted that the vote led by Miliband indicated how the left-wing Labour Party was far more sympathetic to the PA's position.
He claimed that Miliband - who resigned after badly losing last year's general elections to the Conservative Party - had promised to turn that party position into official UK government policy.
"He gave me his word of honor and pledged 'As a party we recognize you, and I will do the same as Prime Minister.' Unfortunately, however, David Cameron was re-elected," he lamented.
But Hassassian said he was still hopeful, praising current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as "a dear friend of mine," who had attended many pro-Palestinian demonstrations and speaking engagements with him.
"He talks about Palestine more than I do," he said of Corbyn, who is a patron of the radical anti-Israel Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
If Corbyn became prime minister and recognized a "State of Palestine," Hassassian expressed his confidence that other European countries would quickly follow suit.
Charlie Hebdo Editor: No One Questions When Jews are Killed
The editor of Charlie Hebdo said in an article set to come out Wednesday on the anniversary of the deadly terror attack on the French satirical magazine that while the killings launched a global debate on the role of religion and free speech, no one bothered to explain to the world why Islamist attackers also went after a kosher supermarket.
Jihadist gunmen murdered 17 people at Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 and at a Paris kosher supermarket two days later. They were among the first victims of a string of attacks by Islamic fundamentalists in France last year that ultimately left at least 147 people dead and hundreds of others injured.
“We are so used to Jews being killed because they are Jewish,” Gėrard Biard wrote. “This is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the executioner who decides who is Jewish. Nov. 13 was the proof of that. On that day, the executioner showed us that he had decided we were all Jewish.”
The article was set to appear in a special edition due for release on the one-year anniversary of the attack.

Charlie and the Jews One Year Later
One year after Charlie Hebdo, France is fighting back against the enemy within its own borders. The French government has initiated extraordinary measures aimed at cracking down on Islamist targets to the point where liberals, like those that write the New York Times editorial page, are crying foul. But this determination not to be caught napping again is admirable and ought to be applauded by Americans.
A willingness to address the core element of Islamist theology and its relative popularity across the Muslim world doesn’t require the West to wage war on all Muslims. It’s worth noting again that a Muslim policeman was killed along with the Hebdo editors and it was a Muslim who helped save some Jewish shoppers at the Hyper Cacher. But neither can we ignore the power of Islamist ideology or fail to understand that its popularity is driven by a sense that it is winning rather than as a reaction to Western counterattacks, let alone the blasphemy of Charlie Hebdo or the utterances of Donald Trump.
But so long as the West thinks that the Islamist war on Israel and Jews is separate from the one they seek to wage against American and Europe it will fail to adequately defend itself. An America that believes it can insulate itself from more attacks by making deals with a terror-supporting Iranian regime or by “leading from behind” against ISIS while ignoring the anti-Semitism at the heart of its enemy’s faith isn’t one that can defeat the forces of terror that threatens the liberties of Americans, Christian, Jew or Muslim.
French Jews leaving in record numbers – but not for the reason you think
In a year that began with the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the subsequent killing of four at a kosher supermarket in Paris, Abecassis, 32, a Marseille-born computer specialist who moved to the Paris region in 2009 to find work, had a good job at a time of rising unemployment.
The income was sufficient that his wife, Emilie, was able to quit her secretarial job after the birth of their second child over the summer. The couple shared a spacious apartment in Bussy-Saint-Georges, a middle-class suburb that has been spared the anti-Semitic violence prevalent in other areas around this city.
Yet on Dec. 27, Abecassis and his family left behind their comfortable lives and moved to Israel, joining nearly 8,000 French Jews who immigrated to Israel in 2015.
“We’re not fleeing,” Abecassis said last month, as he and his family prepared to spend their last night as Parisians on an inflatable mattress in an otherwise empty home. “Our lives here have been good and we love France for it. We’re leaving with sorrow, but we want to live in a Jewish country of our own, where we are not outsiders who need to be tolerated.”
Mass sexual assaults in Cologne test German openness to refugees
German leaders expressed shock over dozens of apparently coordinated sexual assaults against women on New Year’s Eve in the western city of Cologne blamed on “Arab-looking men,” but warned against anti-migrant scapegoating.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a thorough investigation of the “repugnant” attacks, ranging from groping to at least one reported rape, allegedly committed in a large crowd of revellers during year-end festivities outside the city’s main train station and its famed Gothic cathedral.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said she had called Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, to express her “outrage” over the violence, which she said required “a tough response from the state.”
“Everything must be done to find as many of the perpetrators as possible as quickly as possible and bring them to justice, regardless of their origin or background,” Seibert quoted Merkel as saying.
Police in Cologne said they had received 90 criminal complaints by Tuesday and quoted witnesses as saying that groups of 20-30 young men “who appeared to be of Arab or North African origin” had surrounded victims, assaulted them and in several cases robbed them.
IS Bomb Skills 'Truly The Stuff Of Nightmares'
A former Special Forces bomb technician tells Sky News the new footage shows IS are leagues ahead of their terrorist predecessors.
At first, the images didn't look very different from the raft of other ISIS propaganda on the internet, but within minutes, it occurred to me that this was definitely no ISIS propaganda video.
The trademark flag-waving masked gunmen I'd expected to see were replaced with clean-shaven, technically adept and highly trained weapons specialists giving expert tuition in how to turn obsolete munitions and ammunition into state-of-the art weapon systems.
Without doubt, the most chilling aspect of watching this training video was the unprecedented levels of technical expertise and ingenuity of those weapons engineers.
US-led coalition: IS has lost 30 percent of its territory
The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group said Tuesday that the militants have lost 30 percent of the territory they once held in Iraq and Syria.
Baghdad-based spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters the extremists have lost 40 percent of their territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria, adding that they are now in a “defensive crouch.”
Since the US-led coalition began launching airstrikes in 2014, Kurdish forces have pushed IS out of parts of northern Iraq, including the town of Sinjar, and driven the extremists out of a band of Syrian territory along the Turkish border. Further south, Iraqi forces and Shiite militias recaptured the Iraqi city of Tikrit last year.
But IS has also made fresh advances, capturing the Syrian town of Palmyra — home to famed Roman-era ruins — and the western Iraqi city of Ramadi in May of last year.
HSBC snaps ties with Islamic Relief over 'terror' fears
HSBC has snapped banking ties with UK's largest government-funded Muslim charity, Islamic Relief, over alleged fears of terror funding. Although the bank has halted services for other Muslim groups in the past, the affected charity is one of the most high-profile ones with operations in over 40 countries.
Islamic Relief receives millions of pounds from the Department for International Development. It expressed surprise at the bank's decision, but said that other partners are helping it maintain aid supplies in countries where it operates. The charity added that no other bank or financial institution had withdrawn facilities.
According to The Sunday Times, HSBC may have ended ties with Islamic Relief because of the charity's work in the Middle East, including projects in Gaza and Syria. Earlier, the Israeli government had banned Islamic Relief from the West Bank in 2014. It accused the organisation of laundering money to Hamas, a claim categorically denied by the charity.
Around the same time, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also placed Islamic Relief on a list of forbidden organisations, a move the group is in the process of appealing against. Shortly after these bans, the bank took the decision to cut ties with the organisation, but it has only just become public knowledge.
Israeli-Americans Can Strengthen the Jewish People in the U.S. and Lead the Fight Against BDS
The Israeli-American community has the potential of encompassing close to one million people, when you include those who have at least one Israeli parent and Americans who spent substantial time in Israel and feel that it's part of their identity. Accepting the fact that Israeli-Americans are first and foremost, Americans, has also unified our community like never before -- and now we are mobilizing the IAC as movement across our country, with a three-part mission.
First, we transmit "Israeliness" -- our Israeli culture, Hebrew language, a familial sense of community, our Jewish heritage and values, and connection to the Land of Israel -- to the next generations.
Second, we cultivate Israeli-Americans as Jewish leaders within the U.S., enriching and strengthening Jewish pride and Jewish life across the country.
Third, we are reinforcing the U.S.-Israel alliance. Our fluent understanding of both cultures uniquely positions us to serve as a nexus between the Israeli people and the American people - and to offer a personal perspective on the current debates about national security and the Middle East. It's much easier to explain Israel's security challenges when your brother lives in Sderot, your mother lives in Jerusalem, and you have served in the Israel Defense Forces. And -- as you can probably imagine -- we are not exactly a shy group.
MK Oren calls for ‘Hasbara Iron Dome’ against boycotts
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) called for the government to intensify the fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, ahead of a Knesset Caucus to Fight Delegitimization of Israel conference on the topic on Wednesday.
Oren described BDS as part of a new stage in Arab attempts to destroy Israel through delegitimization.
“The goal of BDS is not a two-state solution or the end of the occupation.
Their occupation is 1948,” Oren said, referring to the year of Israel’s establishment. “They are well-funded, highly organized and very sophisticated.”
The way to fight the boycott campaign is “to go on the offensive, and bring the battle to BDS,” Oren said, admitting: “We haven’t come up with an answer [to BDS]. We need a legal and hasbara Iron Dome.”
Facebook Shamed Into Taking Down Shurat Hadin Fake Page
“Facebook’s public statement provided to OHPI is as follows: ‘Facebook does not tolerate hate speech, including against people on the basis of their nationality. We review all reports and take down such content. Both these pages have now been removed from Facebook.'”
In other words, Facebook did not apologize for the double standard, they expressed no remorse or shame, and they ignored the delicious humor in the Shurat Hadin report. They also forgot that a short while earlier they told Shurat Hadin that their fake, virulently anti-Israel page did not violate Facebook’s community standards.
“We’re pleased to see Facebook has responded promptly to this,” Dr. Andre Oboler concluded, noting that his group’s “full research into antisemitism will be released on Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, 2016.”
Renowned German-Jewish Filmmaker Says Country’s Media Deserves ‘Serious Criticism’ for Israel Coverage
The German press should be called to task for its bad coverage of Israel, prolific Jewish film producer Artur Brauner said on Sunday in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
“German media reporting on Israel must be criticized, sometimes seriously criticized — with the exception of some reputable, pro-Israel newspapers,” the Germany-based movie-maker and entrepreneur explained. “Negative reports contain some discontent that has built up with regard to the success of the Israeli state.”
Brauner, 97, was born in Lodz, Poland. He said the defining moment of what would become his career in the film industry occurred during World War II, when he saw a Jewish boy killed by SS officers.
“At that time, I decided to make my childhood dreams come true,” he told Deutsche Welle. “My intention was to produce a film about the innocent victims, about the extermination of an entire people.”
Daily Mirror somehow places the Western Wall in Tel Aviv (Updated)
Today, we found another curious error at the British tabloid in a celebrity article, published on Dec. 31, about a recent visit to Israel by reality TV star Jonathan Cheban.
"The reality TV star, who is joining the Channel 5 show in January, was pictured in Tel Aviv, Israel with friends where he visited the Western Wall tunnels."
The Western Wall, part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount complex, is of course in Jerusalem. Additionally, Rabbai [sic] Shmuel Rabinowitz is the chief rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, and their meeting occurred in Jerusalem as well, not in Tel Aviv.
We’ve tweeted the journalist responsible for the error in hopes that place the Jewish holy site back safely in Israel’s capital.
UPDATE: The Daily Mirror journalist responded to our tweet and corrected the error.
Brooklyn home vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti
A three-family Brooklyn house was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas and the words “Hitler was a hero” scrawled on the door.
The building’s residents, all Hasidic Satmar Jews, discovered the graffiti on Saturday morning, JP Updates reported. The New York Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
The vandalism occurred Friday night in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, a once predominantly African-American neighborhood that in recent years has gentrified and has also seen a growing number of Hasidic Jews move in.
According to DNA Info New York, the three families that live in the building have been harassed since moving in about a month ago.
Over 1.7 million visit Auschwitz, breaking annual record
A record number of more than 1.72 million visitors came to the Auschwitz memorial in 2015.
The new mark breaks the standard of 1.534 million visitors set last year, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland reported Monday. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in visitors, up from fewer than 500,000 in 2000.
In 2015, Poland clocked the most visitors to the site with 425,000. Rounding out the top five were the United Kingdom (220,000), the United States (141,000), Germany (93,000) and Italy (76,000). Next were Spain (68,000), Israel (61,000), France (57,000), the Czech Republic (47,000) and the Netherlands (43,000).
August saw the most visitors with over 210,000.
BBC releases docu on Jerry Lewis’ Holocaust film
The BBC has released a short documentary about Jewish comedian Jerry Lewis’ never-before-seen Holocaust film.
“The Day the Clown Cried,” which Lewis wrote and directed at the height of his Hollywood career in 1971, has never been released. The BBC documentary released on Tuesday includes behind-the-scenes footage of production, stills from the film and narration by Jewish comedian David Schneider.
The film was reportedly a drama with comedic elements. It centers on a fictional clown named Helmut Doork who is imprisoned by the Nazis and is forced to lead children into the gas chambers.
“This is a very interesting film because very few people have seen anything from it, Swedish film critic Jan Lumholdt told the BBC. “He’s a comedian and this is his most serious film ever. This gives it a very interesting energy and dynamic.”
Spielberg’s kid sister goes ‘Above and Beyond’ to make her filmmaking mark
After producing “Above and Beyond,” which is currently making the rounds of Jewish film festivals, organizations and Birthright events (she recently spent an evening with Birthright participants at the Glilot Cinema City theater outside Herzliya), Spielberg is in pre-production for “Who Will Write Our History,” to be directed by her collaborator, Roberta Grossman, about the hidden Oyneg Shabes Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto, and “On the Map,” about the renowned 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game against CSKA Moscow, the Russian team.
Each film is a massive project, said Spielberg. Producing “Who Will Write Our History” included the use of 30,000 documents that had been buried in the ghetto — “like revealing 30 Anne Frank diaries to the world,” said Spielberg.
It’s a story that needs to be told, said Spielberg, like so many Holocaust stories. As her brother’s sister, she is often pitched Holocaust-related ideas.
“After my brother did ‘Schindler’s List,’ people lined up to pitch ideas to him, but Steve said, ‘I’ve already done my Shoah piece,'” she said. “I’m sort of next in line. Once you unearth Holocaust stories, you hit this vein.”
Awed by his grandparents' lives, Japanese man joins IDF
Daniel Tomohiro is not the typical Israeli soldier. His Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made aliyah, and fought in the War of Independence, but they then moved to Australia, where his mother met and married a Japanese man and moved to Iwata, Japan.
Now Tomohiro has come full circle and is serving in the Israel Defense Forces, undergoing basic training with the Nahal Brigade's 50th Battalion. On Wednesday, his unit was scheduled to take part in a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.
"My 88-year-old grandfather Ivan lives in Sydney, Australia," Tomohiro said. "He told me that he fought in an artillery during the War of Independence, in the Palmach [the Jewish paramilitary organization in the pre-state years], and was an instructor in an officer training course. My grandmother died when I was a child and I still don't know what she did in the Palmach."
Tomohiro's parents met when his father was on a business trip to Australia.
Remains of 3,400-year-old Canaanite citadel unearthed in Nahariya
The remains of a 3,400-year-old citadel recently uncovered in an archaeological excavation in the northern coastal city of Nahariya will be incorporated into a new state-of-the art residential high rise in the area, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.
The large excavation – which the IAA conducted with youth groups, including students from Nahariya’s Shchakim High School – was carried out as part of a project by the Kochav Company to build the high rise, which will include an underground parking lot.
“Given the extraordinary nature and quality of the finds, the Israel Antiquities Authority sought a solution that would allow the conservation of some of the remains for the benefit of the public,” the IAA said in a statement.
“Thus, with the assistance of architect Alex Shpol, planner for the Interior Ministry’s Regional Committee for Planning and Construction, it was decided that part of the citadel would be preserved in the building’s basement level, where it will be displayed for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors.”
National Library Posts 220 High Resolution Jerusalem Maps on Wikimedia
The National Library of Israel has released a collection of 200 high-resolution unique maps of Jerusalem, part of the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, in collaboration with Wikimedia Israel. The collection of ancient maps, spanning from 1486 to 1947, contains a variety of styles and languages. Wikimedia Israel encourages the Wikimaps community to use the maps in Wikimedia initiatives and other open source projects.
Eran Laor (née Erich Landstein) was the manager of a shipping company in Haifa, and an author, who accumulated an enormous collection of some 4,500 maps, which he donated at the end of his days to the national library.
The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection is a physical and virtual collection of maps, the heart of which comprises ancient maps, atlases and travel books to the Holy Land and as such, it is the largest of its kind in the world. The collection also includes maps and atlases of other locations. In addition, the collection includes scientific literature on the Holy Land, studies about the historical geography of the Holy Land, Bible dictionaries, and copies of early Bibles that feature maps. The main part of the collection are the maps which were donated to the library by the late Eran Laor.

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