Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Ian:

Israel comes to a standstill as sirens blare for Holocaust Remembrance Day
At 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, Israel came to a standstill as sirens blared throughout the country to commemorate the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. During the two minute siren, traffic came to a standstill and people stopped working to remember the Holocaust.
The siren will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other senior governmental, military, and political figures.
Afterward, at the Hall of Remembrance, a ceremonial reading of the names of Holocaust victims will take place.
On Thursday, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog will speak at a memorial at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.
Also Thursday, the Jewish National Fund and B’nai B’rith will hold a memorial at Jerusalem’s Martyrs’ Forest to posthumously honor a Greek rabbi who led partisans against the Nazis.
JPost Editorial Holocaust remembrance
Even those who were tiny babies then – hidden from the Nazi extermination apparatus that hunted diligently for every last Jew – are elderly today, 70 years after the Third Reich was vanquished.
Soon no one who was alive then will be around to help counter the lies of Holocaust-deniers or the deliberate trivialization and kitschy universalization of the lessons the Holocaust ought to impart to our nation of survivors.
The inexorable march of time is already leaving its stamp even on attitudes here, in Israel, including on Holocaust Remembrance Day. This morning, as we stand in silent vigil for the 6,000,000, there will be those among us tempted to ascribe it all to a one-off regime from long ago, not particularly relevant to today and now.
But, all around us, the hate still thrives and that there are no bounds to the lengths that haters will go to rationalize and justify it.
The falsehoods disseminated by the Nazis and their avid collaborators have been adapted to mutating historical agendas, but the grotesque displays of hypocrisy are no different. The Jewish state is as defamed and demonized as the so-called “Jewish race” had been in order to pave the way for industrialized genocide.
Like their predecessors, the Jewish state’s would-be annihilators posture as morally upright members of the international community and blame the victim for a monstrously magnified set of “unforgivable” sins.
March of the Living begins in Auschwitz
Thousands of young people from at least 45 countries participated in the March of the Living in Poland at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of camps.
The 27th International March of the Living took place Thursday on Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each country’s delegation was accompanied by a survivor to tell his or her personal story.
Yad Vashem chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, led the two-mile march from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau extermination camp. Lau told the participants how he survived the Holocaust, and he showed a Torah scroll that had survived and required extensive repair.
Survivor Sigmund Rolat recalled his Polish nanny, Elka, who remained with him in the Czestochowa ghetto in order to protect him.

Netanyahu Recounts His Personal Connection to the Holocaust
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about his father-in-law Shmuel Ben-Artzi at the Knesset on Thursday for Holocaust Remembrance Day, in the "Unto Every Person There is a Name" ceremony commemorating the victims of the genocidal Nazi machine.
"My late father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, left his family in Bilgoraj in Poland in 1933 and immigrated to Israel as an emissary of the Novardok Yeshiva," said Netanyahu. "He worked in orchards and thereby realized his dream of being a Hebrew pioneer."
"He was a teacher, educator and noted Tanakh scholar. He was invited by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, to participate in the Tanakh study circle he established. Shmuel was one of the few, perhaps the only one, to receive citations from both the Etzel and the Haganah," the prime minister added.
Noting that Ben-Artzi was a famous Hebrew writer and poet who won prizes for his poems about the Holocaust, Netanyahu went on to read a poem he wrote back in 1942 at the age of 26, entitled "To the Land of Moriah." Mount Moriah is another name for the Temple Mount.
Hundreds pay respects to Holocaust survivor they never knew
Nearly 500 people on Thursday attended the funeral of a Holocaust survivor who had no immediate family living in Israel after activists appealed on social media for a quorum when he was laid to rest.
Benjamin Schlesinger’s funeral coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day, and mourners stood silent as the siren commemorating the six million Jewish victims who perished under Nazi rule sounded throughout Israel, Ynet reported.
Schlesinger, 82, lived alone in Ashdod and had no immediate family living in Israel, raising concerns that his funeral would be so poorly attended that not even a minyan, the minimum quorum of 10 men required by Jewish religious law for public prayer, would attend.
Local news sites and social media activists called on residents late Wednesday night to attend Schlesinger’s funeral, and the turnout exceeded expectations.
“This is a call to those residents of Ashdod who can attend the funeral to pay last respects to a man who survived the claws of the Nazis, on this day of all days,” the notice on AshdodOnLine read, said.
Remembering the Jews Who Fought Back
Holocaust Remembrance Day - known as Yom HaShoah in Hebrew - began Wednesday evening, at the start of the Hebrew calendar day, with a powerful ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem.
Among the dozens of commemorative events taking place today was a unique ceremony at the Martyr's Forest on the outskirts of the capital, held jointly by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF).
The event - held now for the 13th consecutive year - is the only one dedicated exclusively to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the years of torment in Europe. Some 200 Border Patrol Cadets – who will provide an honor guard - and 200 high school students are participating in the ceremony together with Jewish rescuers and survivors.
This years' event memorializes Rabbi Moshe Shimon Pessach (1869-1955), an outstanding rabbinic and communal figure who served for 63 years as rabbi, and later Chief Rabbi, of Volos, Greece. Rabbi Pessach – the scion of a long line of towering Sephardic rabbinic figures in Greece – shepherded the Volos Jews community of approximately 1,000 souls, through tumultuous times.
Greek Rabbi to Be Honored for Saving Jews During Holocaust With Help of Righteous Christians
In the Jerusalem Hills, there stands the single largest memorial to the Holocaust in the world, known as Martyrs’ Forest. The forest is comprised of six million trees planted in memory of the six million Jews who perished. On Holocaust Remembrance Day in the capital, a unique ceremony takes place to commemorate the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust.
This year’s event, held at the “Scroll of Fire” Plaza on Thursday morning, April 16, will pay tribute to Rabbi Moshe Shimon Pessach, an outstanding rabbinic and communal leader in Greece whose efforts saved the Jewish community of Volos, a coastal port city, from the German Nazis.
Rabbi Pesach, born in 1869, initiated and orchestrated the rescue of the Jewish community with the help of the Bishop of Volos, Joachim Alexopoulos, and other non-Jews, saving 74% of the Jewish community in a country where 85% of the Jews were murdered. On Rosh Hashanah, September 30, 1943, the German military governor Kurt Rikert summoned Rabbi Pessach to his headquarters, demanding a list of all the Jews in the city and their assets within 24 hours. Rabbi Pessach was told that the purpose behind the demand was to determine the amount of food rations needed to sustain the Jewish community.
Six Million Reasons to Live
All Jews – secular and religious – live with the harrowing knowledge that something terrible and catastrophic was visited upon them and their families in the 1930s and 1940s. It still beggars belief that six million men, women and children were slaughtered because of one simple fact – they were Jewish. How can we live such knowledge? How do we bear the weight of history. There are no easy answers.
And sadly we must face the fact that one day there will be no Holocaust survivors left alive to personally remind us of the horrors of the past. So it is vital that their memories and stories are recorded and shared as widely as possible. In the meantime, we must do all we can to assist Holocaust survivors who have been through so much. They deserve our love, our attention, our time, our money and our respect. After all, no other generation in history has witnessed or experienced such extreme barbarism.
Let us hope and pray that the Jewish people will never again live through such darkness. Given the resurgence of anti-Semitism in recent months and the ever-present threat of a nuclear Iran, we cannot afford to be complacent. If nothing else, Yom Hashoah reminds us we have six million reasons to live.
IDF Blog: Stories of Survival, Heroism, and Triumph
After the Holocaust, many survivors decided to call Israel their home. In addition to immigrating to an unknown land, they made the heroic decision to take responsibility for the defense of the new and fledgling State of Israel. These are the inspiring stories of three individuals who decided to embrace life despite the hardships, and paved the way for their future success and growth in their new home.
Elazar Shafrir was born to a Zionist family in Krakow, Poland in 1924. Following the German occupation of Poland, his parents and sister were murdered. He and his friend, Yehiel Stiener, were placed in the Plaszow concentration camp where they repaired guard towers. The Stiener family had a Polish aid named Anna Katchrowska who provided packages to Elazar and Yehiel, and promised to help them if they found a way to escape from the camp.
The two friends worked together to slip through the barbed wire and flee the camp. Anna was true to her word, and through her connections with the Polish underground she managed to obtain temporary documents for the two young men in order to reach Hungary. With the help of the Jewish Agency, Elazar received a visa to immigrate to the Land of Israel through Istanbul.
Upon his arrival, Elazar began studying chemistry at the Hebrew University. However, his studies were cut short when he decided to fight in Israel’s War of Independence after the United Nations vote on the partition plan in 1947. He joined the Haganah’s Moriah Battalion and was involved in many key battles for Jerusalem including Ramat Rachel, San Simon, and the Kastel. He also fought in the difficult battles for Gush Etzion.
IDF Blog: A Moving Testimony: History Through the Eyes of a Holocaust Survivor
Rina Pearl Zakay was just a ten year-old girl when the Second World War broke out and life as she knew it ended abruptly. After the war, she immigrated to Israel all by herself and decided to fight for the independence of the State of Israel. She went on to build a family, and 70 years after the Holocaust, she is the proud grandmother of three grandchildren who all served in the IDF. In honor of Holocaust Memorial day, she tells her moving tale of bravery and survival.
My name is Rina Pearl Zakay. I am 86 years old. I was born on August 5th, 1929, in Lvov, which then was a part of Poland and today is territorially part of the Ukraine. I was born to young parents and was an only child. My father, Asher Fisch, was a furrier as was his entire family, and he ran the two largest fur stores in Poland. He was partners with his older brother and the two of them had international trade relations. My mother, Bronia, had me when she was 21 and dedicated her life to me. Women of her class were in the habit of hiring nannies to raise their children, but my mother, who doted on me, wouldn’t let anyone else take care of me. Both of my parents were intelligent, intellectual people and very musical too. My father played the violin and my mother played the piano. We lived in a two-story building with my uncle- my father’s brother, his wife and their children, my cousins, who were close to my age. I have pleasant memories of playing with them, learning how to ride a bike with them. I was constantly surrounded by my family. I went to a very well-known school in Poland, the Hebrew Gymnasium, which provided education for children from kindergarten to high school. This school was for Jewish children only, so most of the friends I had were Jewish. There, I learned Hebrew, celebrated Jewish holidays and sang Jewish songs.
My parents were very Zionist and instilled that value in me. The country was still a long way from establishment, but we longed and planned to leave Poland one day and join the Jewish settlement in Palestine.
Anne Frank’s Death at Bergen-Belsen Commemorated With #Notsilent Campaign (VIDEO)
The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, along with the end of World War II, is being commemorated Wednesday on the same day that Israel marks Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). To commemorate the famous teenage diarist Anne Frank, who died in Bergen-Belsen, the Anne Frank Trust UK launched a social media campaign encouraging people (including celebrities) to record themselves reading excerpts from Frank’s diary and to publish the videos online with the hashtag #notsilent.
“We could have a minute’s silence to mark Anne Frank’s death, but it wasn’t appropriate,” said Gillian Walnes, co-founder and executive director of the Anne Frank Trust, Reuters reported.
“Anne Frank could not be silenced. Her voice has resonated across the generations in the 70 years since she died, and she’s inspired people… to actually speak out in her memory, and try to make the world better, as she wanted to do but couldn’t do,” she added.
British actress Naomie Harris and children’s author Jacqueline Wilson are among those who have already posted recordings of themselves reading Frank’s diary.
Anne Frank Remembered in Her Own Words 70 Years After Her Death

Obama decries anti-Semitism in Remembrance Day message
US President Barack Obama called for a forceful stand against anti-Semitism in a message marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“It is incumbent upon us to make real those timeless words, ‘Never forget. Never again.’ Yet, even as we recognize that mankind is capable of unspeakable acts of evil, we also draw strength from the survivors, the liberators, and the righteous among nations who represented humanity at its best,” Obama said.
“With their example to guide us, together we must firmly and forcefully condemn the anti-Semitism that is still far too common today. Together we must stand against bigotry and hatred in all their forms. And together, we can leave our children a world that is more just, more free, and more secure for all humankind.”
The US president echoed a European Union statement issued the previous day highlighting the fight against rising anti-Semitism in Europe. Honoring the millions murdered by the Nazis, the EU delegation said, means ”to stand strong against anti-Semitism, prejudice and racial discrimination in all their forms and wherever they occur.”
Still Boycotting Germany, Beitar Remembers Victims
Members of the Beitar youth movement on Thursday conducted their annual Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony outside the German Embassy in Tel Aviv – an activity, the group said, was more relevant than ever this year, given the fascination among some Israelis and the media of “the good life” in Berlin.
The ceremony was led by Neria Meir, head of the Beitar World Movement, during the 10 AM sounding of the siren in Israel, in which Israelis contemplate the loss of the six million. Beitar has held this remembrance ceremony at the same spot for decades, and to this day Beitar has an official boycott of Germany; the organization does not use German-made products, and has never sent its members to be part of youth delegations to Germany.
In recent months, heavy media coverage was given to a Facebook page protesting high prices in the country. The page started by an ex-IDF soldier who had gone to live in Berlin, claiming that it was the price of “Milky,” a chocolate and whipped cream treat, that had prompted him to leave the country.
40% of Germans say country has done enough to atone
About four of 10 Germans say the nation has atoned enough for the Nazi past, according to a poll that also shows little appetite for taking on more global responsibility.
Forty-two percent of Germans say that the country should draw closure on coming to terms with Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship 70 years after the end of World War II, according to the Forsa survey published by Stern magazine on Wednesday.
The poll offers a snapshot of how Germans view their role as Greece’s government revives reparation claims for the Nazi occupation during World War II and Chancellor Angela Merkel stands up to Russia in the Ukraine conflict. Only 16 percent of respondents said Germany should play a leading global role.
Forty-two percent of western Germans and 41 percent of those in formerly communist East Germany said the country has spend enough time dealing with the Nazi past, according to Stern. That compares with 48 percent of westerners and 39 percent of easterners who said the same 15 years ago.
Major Holocaust Inversion in Europe
The widespread anti-Semitism in Europe is coming increasingly in the open. The more it develops, the more Israel is accused by hatemongers or by using double standards against it. For many, Europeans this is a necessity in order to whitewash both the continent’s past and present. For some it serves to specifically cover their ancestors’ crimes
The classic core theme of anti-Semitism is that Jews embody absolute evil. This extremely false accusation has been propagated intensely for many centuries and has lead to major discrimination, murders, pogroms, and the Holocaust. The notion of what absolute evil is has mutated over the centuries as cultures evolved. In contemporary Western societies, the main perception of absolute evil is behaving like the Nazis, or committing genocide.
The massive presence of anti-Semites in the world leads regularly to accusations that Israel acts toward the Palestinians like the German Nazis and their allies behaved toward the Jews. I have coined for this severely dangerous hate motif the expression Holocaust inversion. Far-reaching anti-Israel hate mongering is strongest in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world. However surprising, Holocaust inversion there is often combined with Holocaust denial.
Israel Launches Initiative to Have Antisemitism Recognized as an International Crime
Attorney Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada and a legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry wants antisemitism to be treated as an international crime. In a new Israeli initiative, Baker is proposing that international courts be used to combat global hate crimes against Jews.
Baker has drafted an international convention calling on the “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Antisemitism.” The Convention, which is drafted in the manner of classical international anti-terrorism treaties and those for other crimes, will allow countries to cooperate and exchange information with others, in order to extradite those suspected of acts that meet the definition of antisemitism, Israel’s NRG reported in Wednesday.
“We need to set down clear rules on what constitutes antisemitism and to set up international codes to prevent it. We expect that the initiative will be thoroughly discussed among all entities and countries that are engaging antisemitism on a global scale,” said Baker.
EU Parliamentarian: The Writing is On the Wall
European Parliamentarian Meir Habib said Wednesday that the Jews of Europe felt as if they were facing the same dangers their parents and grandparents had on the eve of the Holocaust. “Today, we understand more than ever the feelings and feats of the Jewish residents of Europe before the war,” Habib said. “From an early age children have seen swastikas carved into the walls of their school. All they know is that they and their parents dare not reveal that they are Jews.”
And the dangers Jews face are real, not the result of overwrought imaginations, said Habib. “People have been killed, women raped, graves desecrated, and 'dirty Jew' has been shouted at children and adults. It is difficult not to read the writing on the wall. Some thought that events like the attack at the Toulouse yeshiva a few years ago was a one-time event. But at so many rallies, the cry of 'death to the Jews' is heard. And then came the attack on the Hyper-Cacher in Paris – showing that once again France faces dark days, the kind of dark days that in the past led to the murder of Jews.”
Much of the hate against Jews in Europe today is instigated by radical Islam, but Europeans should take no comfort in that, said Habib – they, too, are on the agenda. “The Jews today have an insurance policy called Israel, which they could only have wished for in the Holocaust.
JCPA: Holocaust Denial Is Alive and Well in Iran
In the midst of the nuclear talks on a final agreement between Iran and the P5+1, Iran will host the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest on May 9.
Iran has already made clear during the talks that, apart from the nuclear issue, it has no intention of discussing any other item on its Islamic revolutionary agenda. Hence, Iran will cling to its defiant stance on Holocaust denial, especially now that the West, led by the United States, appears wobbly in the negotiations. The first exhibition, held in 2006,1 centered on Holocaust denial, which was a main theme of the eight-year presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
During his presidency several websites of a Nazi nature and content began operating in Iran with historical pretensions. One of them is, which seeks to revive Hitler’s image and discuss Aryan racial theories.
JM Official: Joint Soldier-Terrorist Commemoration 'A Travesty'
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich slammed a planned Remembrance Day ceremony set for next week in which Israelis and Palestinians will “acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the other side,” according to the sponsors of the event, Combatants for Peace. Kalmanovich said that the idea of equating Israel's defense of innocent citizens with Palestinian attempts to kill Jews and being eliminated by Israeli defense forces was “sickening.”
This will be the ninth year the ceremony, to be held in Tel Aviv, will take place. The ceremony, according to the group, “demonstrates, however briefly, the possibility of peace, not on the basis of disregard for or indifference to the pain, but rather with a direct reference to the loss and bereavement on both sides.” It is not a “radical statement. It is so basically human that we cannot allow anyone to thrust it to the sidelines.”
Over the years, the group said, the ceremony has been attended by intellectuals and artists including Yoni Rechter, Prof. Yehuda (Judd) Ne’eman, recipient of the Israel Prize, Alon Oleartchik, Achinoam Nini, Noam Rotem, Mira Awad, Prof. Eva Illouz and others.
But Kalmanovich, who himself was injured in the first Intifada in 1989, said that there was no place for an event like this in Israel. “Memorial Day is a holy day on which we honor the memories of those who died defending us, and gave us the state we live a normal life in on a silver platter. To honor those who opposed this and fought back against us, is a desecration.”
PreOccupied Territory: Synagogue Cancels Holocaust Memorial Event Lest It Offend Muslims (satire)
A metropolitan-area synagogue called off its planned ceremony in memory of the Holocaust to avoid giving offense to adherents of Islam, the synagogue’s president told reporters today.
The Reconstructionist Congregation Sonei Yisrael of Hartford, Connecticut scheduled a performance by a local Jewish school choir singing songs commemorating the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War Two, interspersed with short narratives from the writings and recordings of both survivors and victims. The format, which earned positive feedback in previous years, was geared toward a mix of young and old attendants – but this morning the board of the synagogue voted, in an emergency session, to cancel the event, amid concerns that many in the nearby Muslim communities might feel insulted.
“We recognize the effort and time that went into preparation for this service,” the board said in an announcement posted on the synagogue’s WhatsApp group. “At the same time, part of our synagogue’s mission is to foster tolerance of diverse viewpoints, and we felt that conducting the ceremony as in years past would unduly imply that Jews see only their own people’s suffering, to the exclusion of, for example, that of our neighbors who practice Islam. Adherents of the Religion of Peace face discrimination and Islamophobia, and we feel compelled to undertake an extra level of sensitivity to potential offense to such a valued part of the American religious fabric. As such, Sonei Yisrael will not be holding its traditional Yom Hashoah program.”
Instead, said the message, congregation members would be invited to a colloquium on Friday with local Muslim leaders to discuss the Palestinian experience of oppression and what American Jews can do to help alleviate it.
High Court rejects appeal against anti-boycott law
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday largely rejected an appeal against a law which limits Israelis’ ability to call for boycotts of West Bank settlements.
The 2011 law does not make a boycott a criminal offense, but allows plaintiffs to file a civil lawsuit demanding compensation from those who call for boycotts.
Israeli rights groups petitioning against the law had said the law infringes on the right to free speech, while defenders of the law said it prohibits discrimination based on geography.
A panel of nine judges determined that the law was mostly on solid ground. Only one, important, clause was rejected: a section stipulating that courts may order unlimited sums in compensation to plaintiffs without proof of damages.
While Justice Hanan Meltzer, who wrote the majority opinion, agreed that the law limited free speech, he asserted that the limitation was in this case proportionate as boycotts were, in general, an undesired measure. (h/t Yenta Press)
16 European Union FMs urge labeling settlement products
The foreign ministers of 16 of the European Union’s 28 member states sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to promote the labeling of products from the settlements in store chains throughout Europe.
Among those who signed the letter were the foreign ministers of the UK, Belgium and France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Malta, as well as from Sebastian Kurz, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. Germany wasn’t among the signatories.
The ministers wrote in the letter, which was first published by the Israeli daily Haaretz, that issuing the guidelines to all the EU member states is a means of preserving the two-state solution.
The EU prepared to take a similar measure two years ago, but postponed it because of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Preparing For College? Consider The Israel Factor
Dear High School Senior,
The spring of your senior year is an exciting time in your life. You most likely are feeling a well-deserved sense of accomplishment on the verge of completing your high school career and, for those of you going on to college in the fall, a sense of anticipation as you look forward to campus life and a new level of independence. But there may also be a healthy dose of anxiety as to how you will fare on your own.
Many Jewish students seek out colleges with a strong Jewish presence, including a critical mass of co-religionists and an active Hillel and/or Chabad House. I wonder, though, how many of you have taken into account The Israel Factor on your intended campus.
For example, do you know the level of student activity regarding the Mideast conflict, especially at a time when the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel, much of it generated by non-students, is growing on liberal campuses around the country? Are there pro-Israel groups at the college of your choice?
These days, unfortunately, the government in Jerusalem is a target of widespread criticism, particularly regarding its Zionist ideology and its dealings with the Palestinians. I worry that too many Jewish students are not aware of what they will face and what they will be hearing in the classroom and on campus, from professors and fellow students, about Israel the oppressor, Israel the apartheid state, etc.
Economist stands by claim that prime minister’s office approves Israel Hayom headlines
In two recent posts, we’ve investigated a claim made by The Economist that the prime minister’s office approves headlines at the Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom.
Here’s the quote, from an article published at The Economist on April 8th.
Yisrael Hayom is a freesheet owned by Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. Its headlines are routinely approved by the prime minister’s office.
We noted in both posts that it is of course true that Israel Hayom is staunchly pro-Bibi. However, the suggestion that Netanyahu’s staff literally approves headlines at the popular newspaper represents a claim we’ve never previously come across.
Indeed, both Israel Hayom and a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office, Mark Regev, strongly denied the allegations. We have also learned that Israel Hayom is considering taking aggressive action in order to refute The Economist claim.
Yesterday, we received reply from editors at The Economist. They are standing by the claim, which is based on a source who they have full confidence in.
Israeli media covers Economist accusation against Israel Hayom
Within the last couple of days, Israeli media outlets have covered the story.
Haaretz (in English and Hebrew) and i24 News published stories yesterday, and Times of Israel published an article today. Additionally, The Israel Democracy Institute’s Hebrew-language publication on journalism, The Seventh Eye, posted about the story.
Finally, we’ve recently learned that the prime minister’s office sent an official complaint to Economist editors.
We’ll continue to update you as this story develops.
BBC ME editor’s analysis of threat to Christians: IS, extreme Islam – and Israel
Bowen of course provided no fact-based support for his fallacious claim that Palestinian Christian communities are “threatened” by Israel and neither did he inform listeners that the Christian community in Israel is both safe and thriving.
But no less remarkable is the fact that Bowen would clearly have listeners believe that, in terms of threats to Middle East Christian communities, “what the Israeli government might be doing” (whatever that bizarre phrase is supposed to mean) can and should be seen as being on a par with the religiously motivated persecution and slaughter of Christians (and of course other minorities) by Islamist extremists.
And that, dear readers, is from the man whose entire job was created with the stated intention of “providing analysis that might make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience”.
Germany: Teacher Forced High School Class to March to Nazi Song
A police investigation has been launched against a high school music teacher in Berlin, The Local reports Wednesday, after she forced her class of eleventh graders to march to the Nazi anthem as an alleged part of her curriculum.
The song, the "Horst-Wessel-Lied," includes lyrics that glorify Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The teacher - who still remains unnamed - apparently forced the students to march to the song during a lesson last month.
Police stated to the news agency that the move may have been a breach of Germany's constitution, which bans the public display of Nazi symbols - including singing the party's songs - under Article 86.
Exceptions are made for art, science, and teaching purposes, but the circumstances are murky - and the stakes are high; the teacher, if prosecuted and convicted, could be given a three-year prison sentence.
Long Island High School Students Pictured Wearing ‘Auschwitz’ T-Shirts
An investigation has been launched after a photo surfaced online recently showing two high school students wearing T-shirts bearing antisemitic messages, CBS reported on Wednesday.
Carol D’Auria of radio station 1010 WINS reported that the picture shows two students at Commack High School in Long Island, NY, wearing red shirts emblazoned with large, black swastikas and the word “Auschwitz” in large letters. The words “hit the showers” can be seen in smaller letters. The students appear to be drinking and in the midst of a game of beer pong.
The photograph, which was first posted on Twitter, was taken off school grounds during spring break, Newsday reported.
'It was heartbreaking': Memorial to victims of massacre defaced in Sydney’s west
A memorial to massacred ethnic groups has been cruelly defaced with Nazi imagery in Sydney’s west.
The monument to Assyrian victims of genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I was defaced with swastikas and abuse towards Jewish groups, Armenians and Assyrians overnight.
It was the third time the memorial had been targeted since it was erected in August, 2010.
The site remembers the estimated 750,000 Assyrians who were among more than 1 million people belonging to ethnic groups slaughtered nearly 100 years ago.
The Australian Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance David David said he drove past the 4.5m monument this morning, as he does every day, when he noticed the graffiti.
“It was really heartbreaking,” Mr David told
The Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Its Consequence
Lawrence Schiffman recounts the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls from their surprising discovery, through the attempts by a small group of scholars to maintain strict control over them, to the ways the study of the scrolls has changed scholars’ understanding of ancient Judaism. On the last subject, he writes:
The impact of the scrolls on our understanding of the history of halakhah (Jewish law) has been enormous. With the help of the scrolls we have been able to reconstruct the Sadducee/Zadokite system of Jewish law that competed in Second Temple times with the Pharisaic-rabbinic system that is the basis for later Judaism. But this is far less important than what the scrolls tell us about the inner ferment and debate that took place within the Jewish community in the second and first centuries BCE and the early first century CE. The apocalyptic messianism we see in the scrolls propelled the Jewish community toward two revolts against Rome (first revolt, 66–70 CE; second revolt, 132–135 CE), both of which had messianic overtones. Furthermore, the expectation of an assumed-to-come redeemer and numerous other motifs found in Qumran apocalyptic tradition have left their mark on the rise of Christianity and its eventual separation from Judaism.
A fascinating corollary to all this scroll research has been their effect on Jewish-Christian relations. The scrolls have been part of a wider, post-Holocaust phenomenon of understanding earliest Christianity as a Jewish sect. In turn, this historical understanding has furnished the intellectual basis for the continued evolution of contemporary Christianity away from anti-Judaic positions to a renewed understanding of the common background that Jews and Christians share. Jews, in turn, have come to understand the way in which Christianity developed out of Judaism in light of our current understanding of the variegated nature of Second Temple Judaism.
67 spectacular pictures to celebrate Israel’s 67th
We think Israel is one of the most remarkable countries in the world. Check out our special gallery to celebrate the country’s 67th anniversary, and you’ll see why.
Independence Day is one of the happiest occasions in Israel’s holiday calendar and this year’s 67th anniversary is undoubtedly a special cause for celebration.
To help you enjoy this happy event, ISRAEL21c has put together a unique gallery bringing together some of the most spectacular photographs of Israel today.
A big thank-you goes to photographers Roy Katalan, Noam Chen, Elad Matityahu and many others for helping us bring you a taste of the incredible diversity and beauty on offer in this tiny country in the Middle East.
Happy Birthday Israel!

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