Saturday, September 14, 2019

From Ian:

Trump says he talked Mutual Defense Pact with Netanyahu, will pick up after vote
US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone of a potential Mutual Defense Pact, or MDP, between the two countries, and that he hoped to continue such talks after Tuesday’s election.

“I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries,” he tweeted.

“I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month,” he added, in a comment that was interpreted in Israel as indicting his hope that Netanyahu will win the elections on Tuesday.


In a statement Netanyahu thanked Trump, who he called his “dear friend,” and said he too looked forward to continuing the conversation to advance “a historic defense treaty.”


“The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House,” the premier tweeted.

Haaretz reported earlier this month that Netanyahu and Trump were discussing such a gesture ahead of the election in Israel, in a bid to boost the Israeli premier’s electoral prospects.

The newspaper had reported that among options being considered were a vow by Trump — with few practical implications — that the US would defend the Jewish state from any potential existential threat; or a joint declaration by both leaders that they would seek an MDP between the two countries, the main upshot of which is that each side is obligated to come to the aid of the other in the event of military conflict.
Obama envoy says Netanyahu ‘encouraged’ plan that included settler withdrawal
Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and the second of the Obama administration’s three Mideast peace envoys, on Saturday said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not giving the true facts in his claim that he’d stopped an effort by rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party to support an Obama-era settlement withdrawal plan.

Indyk said it was in fact Netanyahu who had encouraged and shown interest in the plan, and that it was his defense minister at the time — now a Gantz ally — who had slammed the breaks on the discussions.

Netanyahu published a video on his Facebook page Friday which repeated his claim that Gantz, the former Israel Defense Forces head, had cooperated with the administration of former US president Barack Obama on a plan that included withdrawing settlements from the Jordan Valley and West Bank. It further claimed that Netanyahu had stopped these efforts in their tracks.

The so-called Allen Plan was drawn up by retired US general John Allen and advanced by then-secretary of state John Kerry as part of 2013-2014 peace talks with the Palestinians.

“The truth: Bibi encouraged and showed considerable interest in the Allen Plan and never said annexation was necessary. Blue and White’s Bogie Ya’alon, as Bibi’s Defense Minister, vetoed the Allen Plan, NOT Bibi. Bogie also forbad Gantz from discussing the plan with US officials,” Indyk wrote on Twitter, referring to both Netanyahu and Moshe Ya’alon by their nicknames.

While allowing for an Israeli military presence in the border area between Jordan and the West Bank, the plan would have required the dismantling of all Israel’s settlements in the Jordan Valley, according to reports at the time.
The unknown side of Kissinger: His war against Rabin
Until now, the controversy over inviting Henry Kissinger to speak at an upcoming Jewish conference in Manhattan has focused on his actions during the Yom Kippur War, his hostility to Soviet Jewry, and his mistreatment of Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

But there is another important aspect to the debate: Kissinger’s harsh and vulgar treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The details of Kissinger’s mistreatment of Rabin are set forth in Prof. Gil Troy’s recent book, Moynihan’s Moment. Basing himself on previously unpublished internal memoranda and transcripts of Kissinger’s conversations with his aides, Troy presents a side of Kissinger that is not widely known—but should be.

The story began in early 1975. Kissinger undertook what was termed “shuttle diplomacy,” and it was aimed at getting Israel to make one-sided concessions to Egypt. He demanded that Prime Minister Rabin surrender the Mitla and Giddi mountain passes, two of the most strategic points in the entire Sinai Peninsula. Kissinger also insisted that Rabin surrender the Abu Rudeis oil fields in Sinai, which had the potential to make Israel energy-independent.

And what did Kissinger offer in exchange? A vague five year pledge of “non-belligerency” from the Egyptians. In other words, Israel would give up vital, tangible assets, and Egypt would be free to invade the Jewish state again in five years. No wonder Rabin hesitated to agree to those outrageous terms.

Kissinger was furious that Rabin was not immediately surrendering to all his demands. Israel was “bringing the world to the edge of war for three kilometers in the Giddi and eight kilometers in the Mitla,” Kissinger complained to his aides, according to Prof. Troy. Yes, the secretary of state accused Israel of provoking World War Three.



Peace Now, AP Push Psuedoscience on Jerusalem Discrimination
As CAMERA has reported in the past, the difference in permit requests across Jerusalem has indeed correlated with the difference in permits issued by the city, a fact inexplicably elided in too many media reports.

Other variables would also have to be considered in order to gauge the existence and extent of discrimination. To what degree are Jewish-majority neighborhoods and Arab-majority neighborhoods surrounded by built-up space? Are there different incentives in different neighborhoods — financial, political, or otherwise — to either build illegally or to request a permit?

And what are the trends over time? By parroting Peace Now’s framing, AP missed other information conveyed by their out-of-context numbers.

As explained above, absolute numbers of permits mean little on their own. But if Associated Press reporters nonetheless believe those numbers are worth discussing, why didn’t they point out that the discrepancy between permits issued to majority-Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem has been steadily declining since 1991, the first year of Peace Now’s data set? This is because the number of permits to majority-Jewish neighborhoods has trended downward over the past 30 years, even as the number issued to majority Arab-neighborhoods has trended upward.

These trends show that something — again, without more information we can’t know whether it’s municipal policy, residential attitudes, a combination of the two, or other factors — has been working to erase the discrepancy AP and Peace Now point to. They also mean that, although the Associated Press announces that Arab neighborhoods “have received only 30% of the building permits” issued to east Jerusalem since 1991, that figure doesn’t reflect the current reality very well: The discrepancy was largest in the early 90s, which means that over the past 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years, the percentage was much closer to 40 percent.

None of this proves that discrimination can’t exist in Jerusalem. It can exist there just like it can in other cities across the world. It does, however, show that Peace Now’s announcement falls short of the minimum standards expected from serious scholarship. And it does show that the Associated Press has failed in its obligation to fully and fairly inform readers.
Russia prevents Israeli airstrikes in Syria
The controversy between Israel and Russia regarding airstrikes of Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq continues, despite the meeting Between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was reported on Friday by Independent Arabia.

According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli air strikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice – and that during August, Moscow stopped an air strike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S-300 missile battery is placed.

Moreover, it was claimed that another air strike was planned for a week later on a Syrian outpost in the Qunaitra area and a third one on a sensitive area in Latakia. This development is what pushed Netanyahu to have his quick visit in Russia to try and convince Putin to ignore Israel's attacks in Syria. According to the Russian source, Putin let Netanyahu know that his country will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime's army, or any of the weapons being given to it, because giving such a permission would be seen as giving Israel leniency – something that contradicts Russia's goal of assisting the Syrian regime.

The British-Arabic news outlet reported that Netanyahu tried to present a positive message of the cooperation between the two countries and even tried to use it for his election campaign, but it didn't work. Israeli sources who have spoken with the newspaper called the meeting "a failure." They claimed that everything regarding the air strikes in Iraq and Syria, since they were in the public eye, embarrassed the Russians terribly in the eyes of their allies in the area – Syria, Iran and the militias that support them.
On 9/11, Hillel Neuer calls out UN rights chief for coddling terrorists


Osama bin Laden's son Hamza is dead - White House
Hamza bin Laden, a son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House said on Saturday.

A White House statement said the operation took place in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

"The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group," the statement said.

Hamza, believed to be about 30 years old, was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. He also spent time with his father in Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan pushed much of al Qaeda’s senior leadership there, according to the Brookings Institution.

The U.S. State Department designated Hamza a global terrorist in 2017 after he called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for killing his father.

Reuters reported on July 31 that Hamza had been killed, citing a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter. But Saturday's statement represents the first time the U.S. government has confirmed the operation.
Drone attack on Saudi oil facilities is major escalation
The attacks began around four in the morning; video showed massive fires, billowing smoke and locals reported explosions. Iranian media implied that the attacks were carried out by Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been backed by Theran. However the facilities that were struck are in northeastern Saudi Arabia, closer to Bahrain and Qatar. A drone would have to fly 1,000 km. to reach the facilities.

Drone attacks from Yemen have usually targeted areas close to its border. Two exceptions stand out. First was a May 14 attack that also caused Aramco to stop pumping oil. That attack was later blamed, according to a US report in The Wall Street Journal, on a paramilitary group operating from Iraq. The second case was the Shaybah attack in mid-August. Allegedly, that attack was carried out by up to ten drones, according to the Houthis.

The full details of the most recent September 14 attack were not available on Saturday morning and it was not clear where the drones had come from.

Iran has frequently boasted of new drone technology over the last nine months, including longer-range drones. In early September Tehran unveiled the Kian long-range surveillance and attack drone. Iran’s Press TV is seeking to highlight the attack and blame it on a Saudi-led war in Yemen that has sought to support the Yemeni government against the Houthis.

The war has been controversial because it has been blamed for suffering in Yemen. Iran’s Press TV claims that the “Western-backed military aggression, coupled with a naval blockade, has killed tens of thousands.” Iran says this is a “quagmire” for the Saudis, and it is clear that there is a kind of proxy conflict taking place in Yemen.
Seth Frantzman: Drone strikes on Saudi lead to support, questions about air defense
Saudi Arabia received strong support from its allies in the US, Pakistan and along the Gulf after drone strikes targeted key oil facilities. Smoke and fires could be seen in the early morning hours of Saturday and satellites showed the smoke covering areas in northeast Saudi Arabia, not far from the border with Bahrain.

The proximity to Bahrain, some fifty kilometers from the areas hit, leads to serious questions about how drones penetrated deep into Saudi airspace and hit such a strategic facility at Abqaiq and Khurais. The US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and there are US air bases and other bases along the Gulf from Kuwait to the UAE. These institutions are defended by US air defense. They also have radar that can detect threats more than 150km away, and they should be able to detect drones. Yet the drone attacks at four in the morning don’t seem to have triggered a US response or alert. An email to CENTCOM resulted in a response that although the US was aware of open source reports, further inquiries should be directed to the Saudi interior ministry.

The US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, condemned the attacks. “These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.” Kuwait expressed support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called the attacks a terrorist attack. “We stand fully with Saudi Arabia in combatting all threats to security and stability,” a UAE statement said. Pakistan also joined in condemning the attacks. Kuwait strongly condemned the attack and called on the international community to redouble efforts to combat the Houthi attacks, according to the website Arab News. Kuwait has condemned attacks on Saudi Arabia before, recently in August when another long-range drone attack struck Shaybah ail facilities.

The support for Saudi Arabia is clear, but Riyadh’s response is forthcoming. Saudi Arabia must now weight what comes next and who it will hold responsible. There are questions about how drones from Houthi rebel-held areas in Yemen could actually reach the area near Bahrain. It appears more likely they were launched from somewhere else. That leads to question about why air defense didn’t intercept them or at least raise an alert. Video from Saudi Arabia allegedly includes sounds of gunfire against the drones. Gunfire at night against drones is not effective. In addition another video allegedly from Kuwait includes the noise of a “drone” passing over, although the sound appears more like a jet engine of a an aircraft, not a UAV.
Minister: Israel has failed to extend lease of ‘Isle of Peace’ on Jordan border
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Friday that Israel will return to Jordan two pieces of land along the border, indicating Israeli efforts to guarantee continued access to the areas were unsuccessful.

Jordan announced last year it would not renew clauses in the 1994 peace treaty between the countries granting Israel 25 year leases on the agricultural lands, which are set to expire next month.

Amman later said it received a request from the Israeli government to hold formal negotiations on the future of the lands, known in Israel as Naharayim in the north and the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert.

In an interview with Army Radio, Steinitiz was asked if there was any chance Israel would be able to retain access to the lands.

“No. This was a special clause in the peace treaty,” he said, explaining that the areas “are part of Jordan but Israeli farmers could work them.”

Steinitz, a member of the security cabinet and ruling Likud party, said Israel would need to find alternative lands for the farmers in areas under Israeli control.
PM hints Gantz campaign planted ‘false’ story of Israel spying on White House
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday appeared to blame a US strategist working with the Blue and White campaign for being behind a report that Israel was likely behind the placement of devices in the vicinity of the White House that can capture cellphone calls.

In a video to supporters on Friday Netanyahu repeated a theory advanced by Fox News host Mark Levin, who suggested Thursday that former Barack Obama strategist Joel Benenson was behind the leak to Politico.

The Politico news outlet reported Thursday that the FBI had determined Israel was responsible for the placement of cellphone surveillance equipment near the White House and at other sensitive locations in Washington, DC.

“Yesterday you heard the lies that Israel tried to spy on the White House, a complete lie,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language video.

He then quoted Levin as saying on his show that “this is exactly like the tricks carried out by Joel Benenson. He was an adviser to Obama and now he is the adviser to [Blue and White leaders Benny] Gantz and [Yair] Lapid.”

“For them everything is kosher,” said Netanyahu without offering any proof that Blue and White was behind the report. “They are willing to do anything and don’t care if they damage this valuable asset, our relationship with the United States and my relationship with the president.”
Iranian FM mocks US following disputed report of Israeli spying in Washington
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday weighed in on a disputed report that said Israel was likely behind the placement of devices in the vicinity of the White House that can capture cellphone calls.

Zarif mocked the US-Israel relationship in a tweet directed at US President Donald Trump that referred to his relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“With a BFF in the #B_Team — who empties US coffers and takes US foreign policy hostage — SPYING on the US PRESIDENT, America doesn’t need enemies,” Zarif wrote, alongside screenshots of the report.

Zarif on Twitter often refers to the “#B_Team,” which includes former US national security adviser John Bolton, who left the post Tuesday, Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, all hawks on Iran. “BFF” is an acronym used online that stands for “best friends forever.”
IDF soldier in anti-tunnel unit moves to Gaza border kibbutz, with 28 friends
An Israeli soldier who specializes in locating Gaza terror tunnels has moved to Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, which borders the Strip, and has brought 28 other young Israelis with him, Channel 13 news reported on Friday.

The soldier, who can only be identified by the first letter of his name — Aleph — serves in the Israel Defense Forces in the area of the kibbutz and decided to move to the community after seeing that the security situation was pushing residents away.

He did not want to make the move alone, and sent out a request for volunteers to join him on the WhatsApp messaging platform. Hundreds responded, and 28 other soldiers eventually made the move.

Aleph grew up in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank and began his army service as a combat soldier in a special unit of the Kfir infantry brigade. Around two years ago, he suffered an eye injury and could not continue to serve in the infantry. He then transferred to a unit specializing in countering the threat from Gaza tunnels.

“There is a moment when the person drilling says ‘we feel something here,’ and you insert the camera, and that’s it, you know you succeeded. You understand that you have saved lives,” Aleph told Channel 13 about his role. “In my job there’s no room for mistakes. If I miss something, maybe in a few months people will come out of a tunnel and kill civilians.”
U.N. Agency: PA Economy On Brink Of Collapse
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is warning of an imminent collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA) economy in a new report that was presented in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.

The report said the causes of the situation were Israel’s withholding of some of the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the PA, cuts in American financial support, and a decline in grants and foreign aid from countries and organizations.

Mahmoud Elkhafif, a Coordinator for UNCTAD, told The Media Line that “some of the donor states have decreased their contributions to the PA, while Israel has implemented Paris Protocols in such a way that has put the Palestinian leadership under pressure and forced it to shrink its budget.”

The Paris Protocol, also called the Protocol on Economic Relations, was signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as part of the 1995 Oslo II Accord. It specifies that the Israeli government will collect tax revenue on behalf of the PA for a commission of 3 percent, transferring the balance to the Palestinian Interior Ministry.

Last year, the Israeli cabinet decided to withhold funds to the PA in the amount equivalent to what the PA pays to Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, and to the families of Palestinians who died in clashes with Israeli soldiers. While that amount represents about 10 percent of the total taxes and tariffs collected, PA President Mahmoud Abbas previously refused to accept the remainder of the monthly installments, which total about $150 million.

"The Israeli move to deduct from the Palestinian tax money isn’t within the limits of the Paris Protocol,” Elkhafif said. He also noted the impact of Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, which he said “prevents the movement of people and trade.”
Amid Ongoing Gaza Tensions, 5,000 Palestinians Riot on Border With Israel
Around 5,000 Palestinians rioted at three locations on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, the IDF said.

The rioters threw improvised explosive devices, firebombs and rocks at Israeli troops and damaged the border fence in several spots.

IDF troops responded with riot-dispersal means. Health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza said 55 demonstrators were injured, including 29 by live fire.

Border violence has been a near-weekly occurrence since the Hamas-orchestrated “Great March of Return” protests began in March 2018.

When asked on Thursday about continued sporadic rocket fire from Gaza, including several such incidents this past week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who is facing a stiff challenge from ex-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White alliance, in the Knesset elections that will take place on Tuesday — said, “We will probably be forced, there’ll be no choice, to enter into a campaign, a war, in Gaza.”

He added, however, that he would not risk soldiers’ and civilians’ lives “just to get applause,” and he was vague about when any such operation might start.


Australian jailed in Iran identified as Melbourne University academic
A British-Australian woman jailed in Iran has been identified as Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne.

The academic's family issued a statement through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade saying they were in close contact with the Australian government, and thanking both the government and Moore-Gilbert's university for their support.

"We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels," the family said in the statement.

British and Australian media have reported that Moore-Gilbert has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by Iranian authorities.

Moore-Gilbert is one of three Australian citizens detained in Iran. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday that the government had been working on securing their release for more than a week.

On Tuesday, the Australian foreign ministry identified two of the detainees as Australian Mark Firkin and British-Australian Jolie King.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well at Hofstra
Before coming to college, I heard stories of Jewish students being harassed on campus. Most of these stories revolved around the Israel-Palestine conflict, with debates turning nasty between Israel advocacy groups, whose members are predominantly Jewish, and pro-Palestinian groups. As an Orthodox Jew who is deeply concerned about human rights, I was ready to join campus discourse and shut down those who used anti-Semitic tropes in their arguments.

What I discovered was that anti-Semitism is alive and more insidious than I had expected.

My first experience with anti-Semitism at Hofstra happened before I had even arrived on campus. I was planning to room with a friend of mine who is also a religious Jew. We had been assigned to a suite with two other girls. At first it seemed great – until I mentioned that my roommate and I are both religious Jews.

Six hours later, both girls suddenly decided to find an alternate living situation.

After telling a professor I would need to miss class for the Jewish high holidays, I was told I needed to re-evaluate my religious beliefs. That same professor told the class to imagine a world without Jews in it.

Later, a student compared the Jewish tradition of marrying within the religion to Nazi eugenics. When I approached the aforementioned professor after class to tell her how uncomfortable the comments had me feel, I was essentially told to be less sensitive.

Then, just three days after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in which 11 Jews were shot attending services, another professor asked the class to discuss whether the shooter was “truly evil.” Many students expressed the belief that the shooter, who murdered 11 innocent Jewish people, could not be considered evil as he did what he believed was right.
Jewish professor sues Pace University for discrimination
A former professor has sued Pace University in New York for discrimination, claiming observant Jewish and older teachers were pushed out of the math department.

Jonathan Gersch, who is Jewish and wore a yarmulke to the school’s Manhattan campus, said he worked as an adjunct math and statistics professor at Pace for more than 15 years, according to a New York Post report Thursday about his $500,000 lawsuit.

In 2016, a new department chair, Shing So, started cleaning house to bring in younger and cheaper staff, according to the lawsuit, which Gersch filed Wednesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

Gersch alleged that he was forced out under false pretenses after the university did not renew his position in March 2017.

His suit claims that soon after 2016, all of the “observant Jews” and 50 percent of the employees at the university for 15 years or more were let go.

“While observant Jews were under 8 percent of the 51 adjuncts, ALL of them — 100 percent — were pushed out after the 2016 academic year,” the suit says.


British unions reaffirm backing for boycotting Israel
The leaders of British trade unions, which for years have expressed support for various forms of boycott against Israel, passed a motion seen as endorsing the measure.

The non-binding motion passed Wednesday at the union’s main gathering and internal elections event in Brighton by the Trades Union Congress calls for prioritizing “Palestinians’ rights to justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel.”

The motion, introduced by the member group Artists’ Union England, also accuses Israel of “destroying prospects for peace,” The Jewish News of London reported.

The Trades Union Congress, which has 5.6 million members, has adopted several similar motions in recent years. In 2010, it agreed to “encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from and boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the occupation and the construction” of Israel’s security barrier with the West Bank.

Such language has been used to justify blanket boycotts of Israel, whose water company, banks, pension funds and food industry all service Israelis within the country’s 1949 armistice lines and in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley.


Minnesota synagogue arson suspect arrested
Minnesota authorities said Friday that a suspect was arrested in connection with the fire that destroyed the historic Adas Israel Synagogue.

The fire broke on out in the early hours of Monday morning and completely destroyed the 119-year-old building, though fire fighters were able to save several religious relics from the fire.

The Synagogue is located in the city of Duluth about 155 miles north east of Minnespolis.

While a spokesperson for Duluth told CNN that the fire was caused by arson, how the fire started remains unknown.

The Synagogue, which was originally built back in 1902, is one of two in the Duluth Jewish community. Most of its 75 members are orthodox Jews.

A fundraising campaign on behalf of the synagogue was started by local Jewish federations.
Ukraine chief rabbi denies honoring alleged Nazi collaborators
A chief rabbi of Ukraine disputed reports that he had helped commemorate a monument for those who are believed to have fought for a militia whose members killed many Jews.

Rabbi Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich said the reports earlier this month originated in the fact that he attended a commemoration event at a Jewish burial place for Holocaust victims in Sambir, near the western city of Lviv. That ceremony, he said, directly followed another ceremony nearby in which a monument for alleged militiamen was unveiled.

Bleich said he neither prayed for nor eulogized the alleged militiamen believed to be buried there. He also spoke at the event about the need for interfaith cooperation, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The event featuring two ceremonies was part of a compromise, Bleich said, aimed at having crosses removed from the immediate vicinity of the Jewish bodies. The compromise entails the erection of a monument for 17 non-Jews believed to be buried there and to have belonged to the UPA/OUN nationalist militias, which cooperated for a time with Adolf Hitler’s army against the Soviets during World War II.

Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, on Facebook criticized Bleich’s presence at the August 21 event, adding that Bleich had “inaugurated” the monument along with other dignitaries. Dolinsky did mention the existence of two ceremonies.
Unique Victorian synagogue to become Jewish museum of Wales
Since 2006, the only occupants of the United Kingdom’s spectacular Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue have been bats, as it crumbled away into disrepair.

Now, preservation activists in London have bought the unique building in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales that used to house a once-vibrant synagogue with plans to open there the first major museum of the history of the Jews of Wales.

The Foundation for Jewish Heritage announced on Thursday that it had purchased for an undisclosed amount the Victorian stone structure, which was built in 1872 in Gothic Revival style. The building, which last functioned as a synagogue in 1983, is considered one of the United Kingdom’s most important and has been awarded Grade II listed status out of three distinctions ranked in ascending order of significance.

The tall and narrow building, whose imposing double spires form a vestibule of sorts in front of the main hall, used to be the heart of a community with some 400 members in the first half of the 20th century.

But it fell into disuse as the population of the Jewish communities of Britain gradually reconsolidated itself, at the expense of far-flung congregations, around the three main cities of London, Manchester and Newcastle.
IDF’s Naval-Training Personnel Offer Glimpse Into World of Advanced Submarine Warfare
The Israel Navy’s submarine training course is—much like the world of submarines itself—submerged in the lesser known world of military operations.

A submarine is the most expensive platform that Israel can buy, and the Israel Defense Forces is about to expand its fleet to six German-made Dolphin platforms—half of them new-generation vehicles that can stay submerged for longer.

These vessels, bristling with advanced technology, can covertly gather intelligence on enemy activities, approach distant coastlines and strike targets with precision missiles, while remaining out of the reach of the enemy’s missiles and rockets. According to international media reports, they are a key aspect of Israel’s nuclear deterrent and second-strike capability.

Yet training the sailors who will serve onboard the secretive vessels is as vital for mission success as any of the submarine’s technological capabilities.

“When we returned to dock after some sort of operation and read all kinds of headlines, we understood that there is great significance in what we did,” 1st Lt. I (full name withheld), a commander of a navy submarine course, told JNS.

He served onboard a Dolphin submarine for a year and eight months after being drafted in 2013. He then chose to attend a naval officer’s course to join the training personnel.
‘Game of Thrones’ star Carice van Houten to make Holocaust rescuer film
Carice van Houten, a Dutch actress known for her portrayal of the priestess Melisandre in the hit series “Game of Thrones,” has purchased the film rights to a Holocaust rescue story in Holland.

Van Houten, whose character had a prominent presence in the HBO series until its finale in May, and her business partner, Halina Reijn, bought the rights this month to adapt the book titled “The High Nest.” Its author, Roxane van Iperen, reported the news Wednesday on Twitter and added the book “will become a movie.”

The book tells the true story of two Jewish sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper, who during the Holocaust turned their hiding place near Amsterdam into a Dutch resistance center for harboring Jews and others wanted by the Nazis.

It is unclear whether van Houten and Reijn, who are both among the Netherlands’ best-known performers, intend to portray the sisters. Van Houten has appeared in the two previous productions of her firm, Man Up, which she launched recently with Reijn.

“The High Nest” has been on the top slots of the Netherlands’ list of best-selling books since its release last year.



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