Saturday, January 23, 2016

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Iran’s long arm
If anyone needed proof how the lifting of sanctions on Iran will hurt Israel’s security, this week provided two examples.
Just days after implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement, we received a reminder that Iran and its proxies remain dangerous enemies of Israel.
Five Palestinians from the Tulkarm area were arrested for planning to carry out terrorist attacks under instructions from Hezbollah, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said on Wednesday.
The head of the cell, Mahmoud Za’alul, had been recruited through social media networks. Using encrypted messages, he enlisted five more men from the Tulkarm area; they were ordered to gather intel and plan terrorist attacks, including preparing explosive vests for suicide bombings.
Hezbollah funded their operation by sending them $5,000 through money changers.
Now that the “crippling” economic sanctions on Iran have been removed, the resources at its disposal – and as an extension at Hezbollah’s – will be significantly greater.
In Lebanon, meanwhile, Hezbollah is consolidating its political power. On Monday, in a development that is nothing short of earth shattering, Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces party, publicly endorsed his rival, the formal general Michel Aoun, for president of Lebanon.
Canadian wanted on terrorism charges in Bulgaria for alleged role in Hezbollah bus bombing
Bulgarian authorities have indicted a Canadian for his alleged role in a 2012 Hezbollah bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and their driver, a local newspaper reported on Friday.
Hassan El-Hajj Hassan, 27, a Lebanese-born Canadian from Vancouver, is wanted by Bulgarian prosecutors for terrorism and documents fraud, according to a notice on the Interpol website.
The Chasa daily in Sofia reported that Australian Meliad Farah had also been charged but that neither had been arrested. Both returned to Lebanon shortly after the July 18, 2012 attack.
Bulgarian officials could not be reached to confirm the report.
A suspected cell of Hezbollah operative sent from Lebanon placed the bomb on the bus at Sarafova airport in Burgas. Thirty-five were also injured in the blast and one of the terrorists died.
Police suspect left-wing activist of involvement in Palestinian’s murder
Police suspect left-wing activist Ezra Nawi of involvement in the murder of a Palestinian who lived near the Hebron Hills, Haaretz has reported. Nawi’s attorneys claim the man, nicknamed Abu Halil, died naturally in his sleep.
Nawi was arrested earlier this month, shortly after a TV expose on Channel 2 showed him boasting that he helps the Palestinian Authority capture Palestinians trying to sell their land to Jews — an offense they are often killed for.
A judge on Friday extended Nawi’s remand until Sunday to allow police to conduct a clandestine investigation regarding Nawi, the nature of which was revealed to the judge in a classified document.
In the investigative report, aired by Channel 2’s Uvda program, Nawi can be heard speaking about four Palestinian real estate sellers, whom Nawi said mistook him for a Jew interested in buying their property. “Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” Nawi is heard saying in reference to the Palestinian Authority’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”
One of the men in whose death Nawi claims to have been involved in the video is Abu Halil, who according to official records died of a stroke in 2014.

Palestinian girl tries to stab guard in West Bank, is killed
A Border Police officer shot dead a Palestinian teenager who tried to stab him as he guarded the entrance to a West Bank settlement on Saturday morning.
The girl, 13, approached the entrance to Anatot, near Jerusalem, brandishing a knife, and attempted to stab the policeman as he went to speak to her, the Walla website reported. There were no Israeli injuries in the incident.
“A 13-year-old Palestinian girl with a knife in her hand ran toward the civilian security guard at Anatot,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. “The guard opened fire, gravely wounding her and medics pronounced her dead shortly afterward.”
Israel Police said later that an initial investigation showed the girl, from the nearby village of Anata, had fought with her parents and stormed out the family home with the knife, declaring that she wanted to die.
Jerusalem balances security at bus stops with accessibility for disabled
As the current wave of Palestinian terror continues, Israel is taking steps to protect its citizens from harm. At the same time, it is also encouraging people to keep calm and carry on with their usual routines. This applies to everyone in the country, including people with disabilities—which has left authorities facing a balancing act between providing security and safeguarding accessibility.
A plan to protect vulnerable Jerusalem bus stops from car-ramming attacks is a case in point.
Mere hours after a car-ramming attack last December 14 injured 14 Israelis as they waited for buses near the main entrance to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the installation of safety barriers at hundreds of the city’s bus stops.
The plan to place protective posts at the bus stops was proposed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and was quickly approved by the prime minister after consulting with Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
EU settlement labeling is ‘a win for BDS,’ Herzog tells Hollande
The European Union’s recently approved guidelines requiring member states to label products made in West Bank settlements are “a win” for those who seek to boycott Israel, opposition leader and Zionist Union chiar Isaac Herzog told French President Francois Hollande on Friday.
Herzog reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution to Israel’s decade-long conflict with the Palestinians, but insisted that certain criteria must be met beforehand.
“Separation and security are necessary first steps on the road to creating two states,” he told the president at their Paris meeting, Channel 2 reported.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement seeks to isolate and delegitimize Israel, not just the West Bank, in the international community for its policies towards Palestinians, he indicated.
Britain: The 'settlements' are illegal
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Friday joined in on the global condemnation following Israel’s initiative to declare 1500 dunams (371 acres) of land north of the town of Almog, near Jericho, as Israeli state land.
In a statement, Hammond expressed “concern about Israel’s recent decision” and added that Britain views the “settlements” as illegal.
“I’m concerned that the Israeli Government intends to declare 385 acres of land in the West Bank as ‘state land’, which would be the largest declaration of this kind since August 2014,” he said.
“The UK’s long-held position on Israeli settlements, and that of our international partners, is clear: they are illegal under international law, are an obstacle to peace and undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,” continued Hammond.
“The UK strongly opposes any moves which take us further away from an enduring peace settlement,” he concluded.
Hammond’s statement joins that of the State Department, which strongly criticized the Israeli initiative earlier this week.
Donald Trump retweets 'White Genocide' Twitter account mocking Jeb Bush
Donald Trump’s fondness for retweeting criticism of his opponents and praise from his followers appears to have landed the business mogul in hot water once again.
On Friday, Trump’s Twitter account re-tweeted a manipulated image of Jeb Bush standing outside Trump towers. The image was shared with the caption: “Poor Jeb. I could've sworn I saw him outside Trump Tower the other day!”
The tweet came from the account ‘Donald Trumpovitz’, which uses the Twitter Handle @whitegenocidetm.
The account has re-tweeted a number of racist and anti-Semitic tweets.
Trump is a vociferous tweeter, often using his account to attack his opponents and critics. In July, Trump apparently shared a tweet containing an image of Jeffrey MacDonald, a former US army officer and medical doctor who was found guilty of killing his pregnant wife and their two daughters in 1970.
In one of his most memorable Twitter gaffes, Trump was fooled into retweeting a picture of Fred and Rose West by a user (called @feckhead, which should probably have given the game away) pretending the pair were his late parents.
Clinton says Sanders would leave Israel vulnerable
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign took aim at her rival Bernie Sanders’ Middle East policies, saying they would leave Israel vulnerable.
Jake Sullivan, a foreign policy adviser to Clinton who also served with her when she was secretary of state, depicted as dangerous Sanders’ proposal to normalize relations with Iran, made during the most recent debate for Democratic presidential candidates.
“Iran seeks the destruction of Israel, Iran is a leading sponsor of terror in the region, Iran is flouting international law with its ballistic missile tests and its threats against our allies and partners,” Sullivan said in a video the Clinton campaign posted to social media this week.
A clip in the Clinton video cut off Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, before he elaborated in the debate earlier this month that he did not advocate exchanging ambassadors and said that the United States should remain wary of Iran.
Liberal MP meets with board members of the pro intifada Palestine House
Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erin Mills, Ontario, Iqra Khalid, who studied Criminology at York University and committed to bring to parliament a “fresh” and “progressive perspective”, met (January 18, 2016) with senior members of the Canadian Palestinian community and board members of the Mississauga-based Palestine House , including Dr. Nazih Khatatba
Meshwar newspaper (Issue 148, January 22, 2016, P. 40) reported on the event as follows (originally in Arabic):
“Activists of the Palestinian community in Erin Mills, Mississauga [Ontario] held an event honouring MP Iqra Khalid, who won the federal elections because of the voters from Muslim and Arab descent. The purpose of the event was to strengthen the relationship between the members of the [Palestinian] community and the Liberal members of Parliament.
“The event was attended by a large number of members of the Palestinian community who reside in this area and Arab journalists, in an effort to embolden and strengthen the standing of the [Palestinian] community in any future elections and to get involved in the political and social life of the Canadian multi-cultural society.
“The speakers at the event agreed unanimously to see this move as strengthening by itself the standing and the role of the [Palestinian] community and urging the [Palestinian] community to take advantage of its vote in any future elections, local or federal, in order to improve and strengthen our standing in the country in which we live and to get out of the shell and the encirclement and to become a part of the Canadian national fabric in our efforts to bring a better future for us and the next generations.”

The Palestine House stands by the Palestinian al-Quds Intifada also dubbed The Knife Intifada
The Palestine House was de-funded in 2012 by the federal government for what then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney referred to as a “pattern of support for extremism.”
Tunisian FM’s nomination opposed over Israel post
Tunisian lawmakers opposed the nomination of a diplomat to the position of foreign minister because he served in Tel Aviv 20 years ago.
The Assembly of the Representatives of the People, Tunisia’s parliament, approved Khemaies Jhinaoui’s nomination as foreign minister last week, but his candidacy received the lowest approval of all other ministers, with 134 lawmakers voting in favor, 29 against and 23 abstaining, the French news site reported.
Among the Tunisian politicians who cited Jhinhaoui’s 1996 stint in Tel Aviv as their reason for opposing his nomination was Mohamed Abbou of the Democratic Current party, which has three seats out of the parliament’s 217, reported.
Addressing the protest, Jhinaoui said it ignored “the context” of his service in Tel Aviv as part of a mission representing Tunisia. The mission, which has since been closed down, was opened following progress in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians during the Oslo Accords. “I served in Tel Aviv at the request of the Palestinians,” he said.
But a representative of the bloc of 29 lawmakers who opposed the nomination said Jhinaoui was not fit to serve as minister because “his name is suspected of being tied to normalization” of relations with Israel.
Netanyahu backs Ya'alon, but says Hebron settlers can return if permits okayed
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to assuage settlers and their supporters on the Right on Friday, vowing that those evicted from buildings in the biblical West Bank town of Hebron could return to reside there once “all of the necessary permits are arranged.”
“The prime minister supports the settlement enterprise and appreciates the settlers, who are courageously and determinedly standing up to terrorism day in and day out,” the premier’s office said in a statement.
Nonetheless, Netanyahu backed his defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who ordered security forces to remove the settlers just 24 hours after they moved in to two buildings near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
“We are all obligated to uphold the law, and in this instance all of the necessary permits have not yet been arranged,” the statement read.
"Once this happens, the settlers can return to the homes, just as they did in similar instances in the past,” Netanyahu’s office said.
“The prime minister backs the defense minister and the security forces and calls for a lowering of tensions,” the statement read.
Rightist MKs threaten coalition over Hebron settler evacuation
The ultimatum by the three MKs could pose a serious threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenuous coalition, which holds only a 61-59 seat majority in the parliament.
Border Police forces evacuated several dozen Jewish settlers from the two houses in Hebron on Friday morning, a day after the settlers entered the buildings, claiming they had bought them from Palestinians. Security officials said the decision to clear them was made by the Defense Ministry.
The Jewish Home party, in an official statement, decried Ya’alon’s decision to “throw Jews out of their homes…at the height of a wave of terror.” The party called the move “irresponsible, bullheaded and inflammatory with no clear reason.” It advised Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to save such decisive action “for fighting Arab terror and clearly illegal construction in the terrorists’ communities.”
Meanwhile Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli warned that “if Netanyahu cares about maintaining the coalition he had better intervene and restrain (Ya’alon).”
Faced with new ISIS threat, Israel readies itself for possible confrontation
As pressure on Islamic state intensifies in Iraq and Syria, the organization is working to establish itself in other countries and construct alternative arenas for its activities and Allen cautioned participants at the annual Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv that it is too early to write the obituary for ISIS.
“While losing ground, no longer in relentless attack and no longer apparently undefeatable, Abu Baker Al Baghdadi did a smart thing when he began to bring in likeminded organizations, far flung from the caliphate itself and started designating them as distance provinces,” Allen observed.
“Daesh has jumped the fence,” said Allen.
Allen pointed to the DAASH’s in Libya, where last year it extended territorial control from its base in Sirte and now seeks to seize regions to the east where the country’s oil and shipping industries are concentrated while simultaneously staging operations in the region of Tripoli in the west.
Attacks on streets of Paris, against the Egyptian tourism industry and at Istanbul’s historic Hippodrome, demonstrate IS has affiliates and self-radicalized operatives who according to Allen “can do the bidding and extend the reach of the caliphate beyond the initial core area.
The Inside Track From Israel’s Gaza Border Defenders
Last week, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) saw first-hand the situation on Israel’s south-western border, meeting with a senior IDF source who cannot be identified for security reasons. Close to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, where Israel oversees the transfer of many hundreds of tons of goods and supplies every day into Gaza, we scrambled up to a sizeable sand dune that offered a panoramic view of the situation on the ground toward the closed Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza.
“We hear the explosions and the fighting [against the Islamists] on the Egyptian side. The Egyptian army is taking it seriously,” the senior IDF source explained as we looked across the triangular border junction and heard distant noises, apparently explosions. “We hear this every day. Terrorists continue to try to cross from Egypt into Gaza.”
Minutes later, a text message announced that the Keren Shalom crossing suddenly had been closed. It turned out that the Egyptian army reportedly engaged and killed 13 jihadists just a couple of miles away. Two days earlier, an attempt to breach the Israel-Gaza border fence and plant an IED resulted in an Israeli airstrike that reportedly eliminated a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Meanwhile, Hamas continues to test fire rockets into the sea, and in recent months other Islamic militants in Gaza sporadically have lobbed rockets toward Israel. On the other side of the border triangle, Egypt is doing its best to keep a lid on ISIS and other Islamist forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
It’s clear that relations between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries are good, a dangerous common enemy helping to focus minds. Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt (despite a lack of support from the United States), has taken the fight to the terror organizations, often at a significant cost in Egyptian military lives. The horrific October downing of the Russian passenger jet out of Sharm el-Sheikh brought the scale of the task facing Egypt into focus. Israel remains alert for the jihadists turning their attention and firepower from Sinai, but for now believes that Gazan-based terror poses its most immediate threat.
Kerry: Hezbollah has 80,000 rockets, gets most of its arms from Iran
Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah has more than 80,000 rockets, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, adding that most of its weaponry comes from its sponsor Iran, through Syria and into Lebanon.
“The United States remains concerned about some of the activities that Iran is engaged in in other countries,” Kerry told reporters, citing as an example Iran’s “support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah.”
Kerry again sought Saturday in Riyadh to reassure his Gulf allies concerned over perceived warming of ties between Washington and Iran.
He also announced that the Syria Support Group of 20 nations and organisations will meet “very shortly” to help push peace in the war-ravaged country.
Kerry spoke after attending a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir and other foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah's son taunts Israel on Twitter with smileys
Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, appeared to be taunting Israel through social media on Friday just days after authorities here revealed that he had tried to activate a terrorist cell in the West Bank.
On his popular Twitter feed, Nasrallah posted two messages with smiley face icons.
One of them asks: “How does one wake up a sleeping cell?” No other details followed.
The second post reads: “Receive a wage [from God] that is commensurate with your cell.”
IDF official: Hamas ready for fresh hostilities with Israel
Eighteen months after its last war with Israel in Gaza, Islamist terror group Hamas has rehabilitated itself and is ready for a fresh round of hostilities, a senior defense official said Friday.
“Hamas in Gaza has recovered, and (its military wing) is ready to confront Israel again if it is asked to do so,” the Israeli official told leaders of local authorities of the Gaza border communities, according to a report on the Ynet news website.
“They have restored their tunnels, rocket firing systems, intelligence gathering operations and observation posts,” he added.
Israeli security officials do not believe that Hamas is currently seeking another major round of conflict with Israel in and around Gaza. Rather, the official said, the terror group is currently seeking to gain control of rival Salafist groups that have launched a number of attacks on Israel from the Palestinian territory in recent months
Earlier this month, Haaretz reported that Hamas is believed to currently have as many terror tunnels reaching under the Gaza border into Israel as before the summer 2014 conflict.

Ben-Dror Yemini: The problem with Open Hillel
By seeking to introduce open debate and the inclusion of different opinions, Open Hillel is only giving voice to more of the same: Boycotting Israel and propaganda of lies. A true Open Hillel should fight against silencing pro-Israel voices.
Over the past few months I have been visiting American campuses. I’ve also met with students who are affiliated with Open Hillel, an initiative that wants, or so they claim, to allow for a little more openness to criticism against Israel at Hillel clubs on campuses. The initiative has been publicly backed by a group of professors.
There's no doubt that "openness," "the freedom of expression," and "inclusion" are important components in any student and academic activity. There's no doubt that students and lecturers who deviate from the song of the choir and voice different opinions need a lot of courage. There's no doubt that barring irritating positions is against the principle of free thinking. So every initiative that wants to broaden the canvas in order to allow for public discussions that encourages the plurality of opinions rather than a limitation of opinions - should be welcomed.
The thing is, every text has a context. And the context is that on many campuses in the US, there are many groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Islamic associations, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and many others. They have a lot of power. They act, sometimes with violence, against Israelis coming onto campuses. Sometimes it's just because they're Israeli, regardless of their opinions. This phenomenon is called a boycott. The members of these groups, most of whom support the BDS Movement, are the ones behind a campaign to silence other opinions. So an interesting thing is happening here - in order to strengthen "openness" and "inclusion," we seek to open the door to those who use violence against openness.
BBC News gives a megaphone to BDS rhetoric yet again
As is consistently the case in any BBC report involving the subject of BDS, no effort is made to inform readers of the real agenda which underlies that campaign. It would have been relevant, for example, for readers of this report to know that the chair of the Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign is on record as saying “What we want to see the end of is the Zionist state” and for them to understand that opposition to Jewish self-determination falls within accepted definitions of antisemitism.
The result is that once again the supposedly ‘impartial’ BBC whitewashes the messaging of the anti-peace BDS campaign whilst mainstreaming its tactical rhetoric such as the ‘apartheid’ trope.
Notably, another recent story from the UK connected to “pro-Palestinian” supporters of BDS silencing free speech – which was reported by mainstream media outlets such as the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Jewish Chronicle and the Telegraph – appears to have received only minimal local coverage from the BBC three days after the incident took place.
New York passes legislation against BDS
The state of New York this week became the latest state to pass legislation against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The New York State Senate passed a bill that prohibits the state from doing business with companies that seek to harm Israel and other American allies through boycotts and discriminatory economic agendas.
The bill (S6378A), sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (7th Senate Distict) and Senator Simcha Felder (17th Senate District), passed on Wednesday.
It expands existing state law to prevent New York from entering into a state contract or investment with those seeking to economically harm American allies.
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said following the approval, “New York taxpayers need to be protected from becoming unwitting supporters of those who are trying to undermine our greatest ally, Israel, and other critical allies. We are demonstrating that New York will continue to stand with our international partners and protect our shared interests.”
Senator Martins said, “Our tax dollars should not be used to aid those who wish to harm our friends. Israel and our other allies stand side by side with us to protect New Yorkers and all Americans. We owe it to them to ensure our own resources are not used in efforts to attack them. This sends a strong message that New York State supports those who have continually supported us.”
Israeli students to train as 'online ambassadors'
The Education Ministry is launching a course to train students to be young online ambassadors for Israel on social networks. The time spent engaged in these public diplomacy efforts will count toward the mandatory number of volunteer hours students must complete before graduating high school.
Around 400 students will take part in the first Online Ambassadors course. The training will take place in a virtual classroom, in which students from across the country will be connected.
The students will contact youth organizations abroad to talk about life in Israel.
An Education Ministry official said, "The participants will broaden their knowledge about Israel, deepening their national identity, and they will receive the tools to be 'young ambassadors' both online and offline."
Yahoo Promotes (Another) Fringe Hate Site
About a year ago, CAMERA raised concerns after Yahoo's promoted a virulent hate site that specializes in Holocaust denial and Sept. 11 conspiracy theories. We contacted Yahoo officials at the time, including CEO Marissa Meyer, and called on the media giant to "quickly remedy" this serious problem.
But Yahoo has not remedied the problem. This month, Yahoo shared on its front page content from yet another anti-Jewish, 9/11 conspiracy site and with it, predictably, glaring falsehoods.
As was the case last year when it promoted the hate site Veterans News Now, Yahoo seems to have been drawn in by the fringe site's anti-Israel calumny. "Israel Tortures Palestinian Children; Keeps Them In Outdoor Cages in Winter: Rights Group," claims a headline by a new website calling itself American Herald Tribune, cross-posted by the "murky" and "obscure" Mint Press, and given entry into the mainstream by the gatekeepers at Yahoo.
Let's put aside for a moment the inaccurate charges in the article — after all, falsehoods at the unvisited corners of the internet are hardly surprising — and focus first on the identity of the website Yahoo seems to think deserves mainstream respectability and front-page prominence.
American Herald Tribune (AHT), which appeared suddenly in October 2015, is so obscure that even Google searches for the name at the time of this writing yield virtually nothing. There is one glaring exception to its anonymity — Mint Press posted AHT articles four times over a span of five days this month:
Predictable BBC amplification for latest HRW anti-Israel report
Whether the writer of this BBC article had time to read that 51,000 word report properly and to independently verify its content before promoting it to audiences is doubtful. What is apparent is that the BBC quotes from it without informing readers of HRW’s inherent agenda in relation to Israel and without informing them that its bottom line – as shown on its back page – is to add wind to the sails of the BDS movement.
“…it [the report] concludes that the only way settlement businesses can comply with their responsibilities under international human rights standards is by ending their businesses in settlements or in settlement-related commercial activity.”
As NGO Monitor points out:
“There is no rule whatsoever in international law prohibiting doing business in occupied territory and no court addressing this issue, most recently the European Court of Justice, has ruled otherwise. In addition, many courts have ruled that boycott campaigns similar to that promoted by HRW in this publication amount to illegal national origin discrimination.”
Readers can find more on the legal aspects of the subject in a paper tiled ‘Economic Dealings with Occupied Territories’ published by Professor Eugene Kontorovich.
Given that HRW is one of the political NGOs most frequently promoted by the BBC in Israel-related content and in light of the fact that the BBC has frequently engaged in promotion of the BDS agenda, it is hardly surprising to find this latest report promoted in BBC content without due attention to impartiality.
Merkel: Anti-Semitism more widespread than we imagined
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for “intensive action” against anti-Semitism on Saturday, urging vigilance particularly when dealing with young people from countries “where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread.”
“Anti-Semitism is more widespread than we imagined. And that is why we must act intensively against it,” Merkel, who on Monday will inaugurate an exhibition in Berlin titled “The Art of the Holocaust,” said in her weekly video podcast.
In late November Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, expressed concern that many asylum seekers coming into the country come from cultures “in which hostility toward Israel and antisemitism are a common practice.” Merkel said these concerns must be taken “seriously.”
Some 1.1 million asylum seekers entered Germany in 2015, many of them fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.
“We must take care, specifically also in youth (from) countries where hatred of Israel and Jews is widespread,” she insisted, without mentioning specific countries or refugees.

Unemployed Former HyperCacher Owner Gets Job Offers Following Article in Israeli Press
The former owner of the Parisian kosher supermarket that was stormed by an ISIS-inspired terrorist last January received several job offers in Israel after a story about his job hunt was published by the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon.
Patrice Walid, who announced his intention to immigrate to Israel with his wife and three children just three days after the grisly attack at his Hyper Cacher store in Porte de Vincennes left four victims dead, told Makor Rishon last week, “I’ll work in whatever they give me.”
“I need to make a living. There are things that I cannot do because of the wound, like lifting heavy boxes. I want to return to the same line of work that I had in Paris. I understand that they won’t let me manage a store off the bat, but I am willing to start from the bottom, as a storekeeper or even a cashier,” Walid told Makor Rishon.
After the report was published, several firms contacted Walid with job offers, according to Makor Rishon. Some of the offers turned out not to fit Walid’s experience, while other firms remain in contact with him. Qualita, an organization aimed at helping French immigrants, also worked to connect Walid with potential employers.
Walid was shot in the arm and abdomen by the ISIS-inspired terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, before managing to flee and inform police.
Obama to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day at Israeli embassy
President Barack Obama will this year mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by attending a ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Washington.
In an unusual move, Obama will take part in a ceremony to recognize four Righteous Among the Nations (non-Jews who who risked their own lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from the Nazis), Army Radio reported Friday.
The day of remembrance, which this year falls on January 27, is observed around the world, while Israel has its own Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Hebrew month of Nissan (April/May in the Gregorian calendar).
The Washington, DC ceremony is the first of its kind to be held in the US, and will honor two Americans and two Poles, whose families will receive an award in their name.
In October, the Obama administration earmarked $12 million for assistance to Holocaust survivors. The allocation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Jewish Federations of North America, to be disbursed over five years, is part of an initiative launched in late 2013 by Vice President Joe Biden to address the needs of survivors in the United States, a quarter of whom live below the poverty line.
Anne Frank biopic to premiere at Berlin film fest
The first German feature-length biopic on the famed Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank, who perished in the Holocaust, will premiere next month at the 66th Berlin film festival, organizers said Friday.
“Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank” (The Diary of Anne Frank) will screen in the youth sidebar section Generation of the Berlinale, the first major cinema showcase of the year in Europe.
“This film adaptation of the eponymous historical testimony that moved the world primarily depicts the period of time that Anne spent in her family’s hiding place… in Amsterdam,” the festival said in a statement.
Anne Frank, who was born in Germany and moved to the Netherlands as a child, will be played by German actress Lea van Acken, who starred as the daughter of religiously fanatical Catholic parents in the drama “Stations of the Cross,” which won best screenplay at the 2014 Berlin festival.
Hans Steinbichler will direct the picture, co-starring Martina Gedeck (“The Lives of Others”) and Ulrich Noethen (“Downfall”) and produced with the permission of the Swiss-based Anne Frank Fund, which holds the rights to the diary.
Guinness confirms Israeli Holocaust survivor, 112, may be world’s oldest man
Yisrael Kristal’s family say he was born in Poland on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers took the first airplane flight.
He lived in the country until the Nazi occupation during World War II, when he was eventually sent to the Auschwitz death camp.
Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology at Guinness World Records, confirmed that if proven, he would become the oldest man currently on record.
To do so, however, Kristal would have to produce documents from the early years of his life. Currently, the family have said the oldest document they have is from his wedding aged 25.
“We have standard rules and it would be unfair on other people if we bent the rules,” Young told AFP, while expressing sympathy for Kristal’s circumstances.
The best hope for finding the missing proof may be in the town of Zarnov where he was born. The family later moved to Lodz, where Kristal worked in his family’s confectionary factory.

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