Saturday, October 27, 2018

From Ian:

Yelling ‘all Jews must die,’ gunman kills 8 at Pittsburgh synagogue
Eight people have been confirmed dead in a shooting on Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

The gunman is said to have yelled “All Jews must die” as he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, a Conservative congregation, in the city and began firing, local media reported. He engaged in a shootout with responding police officers and barricaded himself inside the building before reportedly surrendering. He is said to be injured.

KDKA-TV, a local news stations, said its sources identified the suspect as Robert Bowers, a white male in his 40s. He is said to have written anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant conspiracies on Gab, an alt-right social network similar to Twitter. His last reported message read: “HIAS likes to bring invaders to kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

HIAS is an American-Jewish nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid to refugees and immigrants.

Bowers’ Gab bio read: “Jews are the children of Satan.”

An unknown number of people were also injured in the shooting, among them police officers, according to authorities.

The synagogue is located at the corner of Wilkins and Shady Avenues in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. The neighborhood is heavily Jewish.
Netanyahu: ‘Heartbroken and appalled’ by Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening that he was ‘heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today,” in which eight people have been confirmed dead.

“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead,” Netanyahu said in a video message. “We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh we stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous antisemitic brutality and we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”

President Reuven Rivlin, as well as ministers and politicians from across the political spectrum, also responded with shock and outrage at the news of the mass shooting.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the events in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We are thinking of the families of those who were murdered and praying for the quick recovery of those who were injured” Rivlin said in a statement.

“I am sure that the law enforcement agencies and the legal authorities in the US will investigate this horrific event thoroughly and that justice will be served to the despicable murderer,” he added.
A shaken Pittsburgh Jewish community grapples with shooting tragedy
Michael Eisenberg was walking from his home in the leafy Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill Saturday morning to synagogue services to the Tree of Life Congregation, where he is a past president. Then his cellphone rang.

It was one of the synagogue’s vice presidents who works for the city’s emergency management. “He said he just got word that there’s an active shooter scene at Tree of Life,” Eisenberg told reporters. “‘Go up there and see if this is true.’ I only live a block away from the synagogue. I tried to get up Shady Avenue. There were police cars everywhere. There were guns drawn, rifles. It was surreal.”

Around 10 am local time, a gunman entered the Pittsburgh synagogue during Shabbat services and opened fire, killing multiple people and wounding three police officers. The suspect surrendered an hour later and was in custody by noon, according to the Associated Press.

Police warned neighborhood residents to stay indoors. The local broadcast station KDKA reported that officers confronted the gunman outside the synagogue. During the standoff, the suspect spoke multiple times about killing Jews, according to KDKA. “All Jews must die,” he yelled.

News of the tragedy immediately sparked national outrage. US President Donald Trump tweeted that the shooting was “far more devastating than originally thought.” He said he told the Pittsburgh mayor and Pennsylvania governor that “the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way.”

Meanwhile, members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community were still processing the reality of nightmare they long prepared for but never thought would happen.

Eisenberg told a televised press gaggle outside the synagogue that, when he was president of Tree of Life, they collaborated with federal and local law enforcement for the possibility of an attack.
Synagogue shooter identified as 46 year-old Robert Bowers
The man responsible for Saturday's grisly shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers.

Bowers reportedly yelled "All Jews must die" during the attack. Before entering the synagogue, Bowers tweeted that "I can't wait while my people are getting slaughtered....I'm going in". Bower's social media was rife with anti-Semitic comments.

Over 80 people were in the building during the shooting, which happened during a Jewish circumcision ceremony. Eight people were killed and three police officers were injured. Bowers later surrendered to law enforcement.

The attack was condemned by President Trump, who tweeted that he is "Watching the events unfolding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement on the scene. People in the Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!"

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Saturday's grisly shooting, tweeting that "The State of Israel and the Israeli government received with shock and pain the reports of the terrible attack on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. We anxiously follow the reports and pray that the event will end soon."
Hamas fires 30 rockets at Israel's south, IDF strikes 80 targets in Gaza
Thirty Hamas rockets were fired on Israel and 10 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, IDF Spokesperson reported. Two rockets fell in the Gaza Strip and 18 landed in open areas.

Sirens sounded 11 times in the area over Friday night and Saturday morning. Following the sirens, medics and MDA paramedics gave medical treatment to seven victims at the site. A 53-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy were in very mild condition after being injured on the limbs while running to a bomb shelter.

According to reports received during the night, the IDF attacked 80 targets in Gaza.

Palestinians reported attacks by the Israeli Air Force in the south of Rafah and at Hamas' naval base west to Gaza City. An explosion was heard in Khan Yunis.

In Gaza, Hamas headquarters were evacuated in anticipation of another attack by the Air Force.

"The IDF has acted with force against terrorist activity and is determined to defend the residents of Israel and will continue to act in their defense," the IDF Spokesman said.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, threatened Israel in a statement, "Al-Qassam is ready to strike at all of occupied Palestine with thousands of missiles if the campaign begins."

Seth Frantzman: Iran’s dangerous game in Gaza
The rocket fire overnight from Gaza may have been directed from Tehran or Iranian forces in Syria, according to Israel’s assessment. An IDF statement said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched rockets “under the encouragement of the terror-exporting Iranian regime,” and IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the rocket fire was conducted with “clear guidance from Iran” and the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force in Syria.

This is a serious allegation and means that what appeared to be several salvos of rocket fire have hands guiding them across the region. Iran’s policy in the Gaza strip has been developing over the last two decades.

A paper from the Institute for National Security Studies by Sima Shine and Anna Catran last year, noted the close relations that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have with Iran. “For years this backing has taken primarily the form of military air.” That included actual weapons and know-how for things like improving the range of rockets.

This is important because Iran has also been accused of building rocket factories in Syria and Lebanon and sending precision guided equipment to Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is part of a wider Iranian strategy in which Iran’s tentacles reach toward Israel on three fronts, in the Golan, on the northern Lebanese border and in Gaza.

Iran has benefited from the chaos and instability of the last years in the region and built a crescent of influence or corridor to the sea from Tehran that stretches through Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. Evidence for this is clear in each country. In Iraq the IRGC has been accused recently of transferring missiles to Shi’ite militias and Iran has fired ballistic missiles at Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq. It has also fired precision ballistic missiles at ISIS in Syria, close to where US forces were battling ISIS. In Syria, it has dozens of bases and has sent thousands of fighters, both its own Iranian IRGC members, and those recruited abroad from Shi’ite communities.

In the last year, Jerusalem has increasingly warned of Iran’s role in Syria and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran to leave Syria in June. The US has also said that it will stay in eastern Syria and that Iran's forces should leave the country. Behind the scenes Israel has struck at Iran's entrenchment in Syria. The IDF said in September it had struck 200 sites in Syria, many of them connected to Iranian arms transfers. But in September a Russian Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian air defense during an Israeli raid on Iranian sites in Latakia and Russia transferred the S-300 system to Syria. Israel has now warned about the precision guidance transfer to Hezbollah. And on October 25 Israel HaYom included a story about Hezbollah “working on establishing military infrastructure,” near the Golan border.
30+ Rockets Fired at Israel

Gazans Cheer as Rockets are Fired at Israel

IAF strikes in Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad calls for a ceasefire
The Israeli Air Force struck eight Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday following Islamic Jihad rocket attacks that took place on Saturday morning and Friday night.

Islamic Jihad announced it accepted an immediate cease fire brokered by Egypt effective immediately, Channel 10 reported, the IDF did not as of yet confirm or denied this.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman convened high ranking IDF officers and members of the security services to evaluate the recent developments in the Gaza Strip following Friday night and Saturday morning rocket attacks by Islamic Jihad on southern Israel, his office stated.

The security assessment was attended by Chief of the General Staff Gadi Eizenkot and other senior officials.

Palestinian media reported dozens of school children in Khan Yunis suffered panic attacks following the IAF strike.

Thirty-four rockets were fired on southern Israel during Friday night and five rockets were fired on Saturday morning. Several residents of Gaza border communities suffered shock, and they were taken to a local hospital, Channel 2 reported.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the Friday night attack, saying in a statement that ”we can not stand with our hands tied.”

IDF strikes 80 Gaza targets overnight in response to multiple rocket barrages
The Israeli military carried out extensive air strikes in the Gaza Strip Friday night, striking around 80 terror targets in the enclave, after a night in which around 30 rockets were launched across the border, sending thousands of Israelis into shelters.

The rocket barrages were launched between approximately 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., leading warning sirens to sound throughout Israeli communities multiple times throughout the night. There followed about 3 hours of quiet until 6 a.m., when sirens were once again activated by an apparent launch.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m. additional warning sirens were heard in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Nnegev regional councils. The IDF said one rocket had been launched from Gaza that was shot down by Iron Dome interceptors.

The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted 10 of the nighttime rockets, while two fell inside Gaza and the rest hit open fields and were thus not targeted by the system.

There were no reports of direct Israeli casualties or damage. However, seven people were treated by medics for anxiety attacks. Two people were said lightly hurt while running to bomb shelters.

In response, air force jets and helicopters bombarded various Hamas targets in the Strip, including two weapons-production facilities, five military sites, a training facility, a tunnel shaft and an observation post.

The Israel Defense Forces later said aircraft also struck a four-story building in Gaza City’s Daraj neighborhood used as the headquarters of Hamas’ General Security Services.

It said the building’s tenants received several warnings ahead of the strike to clear the premises.

COGAT: terrorist organizations have no pity for you, residents of Gaza
Major General Kamil Abu Rukun asked on Saturday, "to what low have the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip reached when they strike the ambulance crossing at the Erez Crossing?"

Writing in Arabic on el-Munasek, COGAT's Arabic-language Facebook page, Rukun pointed out the crossing is used by children and adults who are terminally ill and require medical help given to them in Israel.

"Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip fired mortar bombs in the direction of the Erez Crossing, striking the ambulance crossing there," he wrote.

"The terrorist organizations have no pity for you, residents of Gaza," Rukun stated.

Yisrael Medad: The elasticizing of semantics
“Zionism developed as a colonialist movement” is how Professor Ishay Rosen Zvi, head of the Talmud and Late Antiquity section in the Jewish Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University, opens a recent op-ed of his published in Haaretz.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) had accused Israel of being an “apartheid” state, as I myself noted in a column published here and, taking it a bit further, The Guardian’s cartoonist accused Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison of pandering to the “Israeli enthusiast apartheid vote” (while suggesting those type of people claim that Gazan kids die because the “fall on Israeli bullets”).

In the congressional district NY19 in the Catskills, Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado said in a debate that Israel “isn’t a democracy.” In a recent pamphlet, the new Rabbinic Call for Human Rights organization, T’rua asserts that Israel’s “Supreme Court has reiterated, as recently as 2010, that the West Bank is to be treated as occupied territory.” That manifesto, oddly enough, was issued “in collaboration with Breaking the Silence.” Breaking the Silence activists are “collaborators”?

Another example is from Britain, where a member of the anarchist Jewdas group compared Zionism to Nazi ideology during an “anti-Semitism awareness” session to Labour Party members. Annie Cohen said that “Zionism is a racist ideology,” adding that it was “not possible to have a democratic Jewish state.”

Which raises the theme of how is language used, or rather misused, purposely or simply sloppily is talking about Israel’s current diplomatic and political condition.

Quite plainly, language in the discourse is being corrupted and definitions are being eviscerated. Moreover, the object of this exercise is to demonize Israel and Zionism, poison minds and attempt to disenable any defender of Israel and Jewish nationalism from responding by literally dictating the conversation to the total disadvantage of a pro-Israel stance. And tax-exempt donations to the New Israel Fund monetize this language.
Sohrab Ahmari: The Day Free Speech Died in Europe
In his chilling, bitterly hilarious 2016 novel, Submission, the French writer Michel Houellebecq imagines a future France where Islamists attain political power and set about remaking society according to the precepts of Shariah. French elites go along, not because they are particularly enthusiastic about the teachings of Muhammad, but because they are spiritually empty and politically impotent. Islam, meanwhile, is virile, energetic, brimming with civilizational will to power.

Europe took a decisive step toward realizing Houellebecq’s dystopian vision on Thursday, and it didn’t even take the election of an Islamist to high office (as occurs in Submission). The European Court of Human Rights, the body that stands as the ultimate guardian of fundamental rights on the Continent, ruled that governments may curtail criticism of the Muslim prophet if such criticism threatens social comity.

The facts giving rise to the holding were simple. In 2009, Mrs. S., an Austrian national, offered two seminars on Islam at which she discussed, inter alia, Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha when the latter was aged 6. The prophet didn’t consummate the marriage until Aisha was 9 or 10, according to most Islamic authorities. Recounting these things at her seminar, Mrs. Seminar asked: “A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? . . . What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?”

Two years later, a regional court found that “these statements implied that Muhammad had had pedophilic tendencies, and convicted Mrs. S. for disparaging religious doctrines,” per an ECHR news release. “She was ordered to pay a fine of 480 euros and the costs of the proceedings.” Mrs. S. appealed, but the higher courts in Austria upheld the lower court decision.

The ECHR’s final ruling was an exercise in bending the law to reach a politically favored outcome. The court began from the conclusory and questionable premise that states can legitimately restrict free expression when “religious intolerance” was at stake. It went on to divine that this was indeed such a case. Mrs. S.’s statements about Muhammad, though accurate, implicated especially sensitive subject matter, per the ECHR, and they didn’t contribute to a “debate of public interest,” such as on the issue of child marriage. And since Mrs. S. wasn’t in a position to opine on Muhammad’s subjective sexual interests, it was wrong of her to impute pedophilia to the prophet.
Oman urges acceptance of Israel, says helping in peace talks but not a mediator
Following a surprise visit on Friday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, the Gulf sultanate’s foreign minister said Saturday that Israel should be accepted in the region, and offered that Oman would work to assist in Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

Speaking at a security summit in Bahrain, Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah maintained, however, that Oman would not serve as a mediator, but would offer ideas for negotiations, while expressing support for peace efforts being led by US President Donald Trump.

“Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this fact and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same and also bear the same obligations,” bin Abdullah said at the conference on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The comment followed a rare visit by Netanyahu to Oman, the first by an Israeli leader in over two decades, and a sign of warming ties between the Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world. Netanyahu and his wife Sara traveled to Muscat to meet Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who had extended an invitation to the couple “after lengthy contacts between the two countries,” the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians slam Oman over Netanyahu visit
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Oman last week came as a surprise to the Palestinians, who denounced it as a form of “normalization” with Israel.

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said on Saturday they did not know if PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who also visited Oman last week, knew in advance about Netanyahu’s visit to the country’s port capital of Muscat.

A senior advisor to Abbas would neither confirm nor deny reports to the effect that Oman and its leader, Sultan Qaboos, were acting as mediators between Israel and the Palestinians in a bid to resume the peace negotiations between the two sides.

Palestinians argue that any “normalization” between Israel and the Arab countries should come only after the Palestinian issue is solved.

Munir al-Jaghoob, a senior official with Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, said that Netanyahu’s visit to Oman “eliminates the Arab Peace Initiative, which is based on land-for-peace, which will be followed by the establishment of relations between Israel and the Arab countries.”

He was referring to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, also known as the Saudi Initiative, which calls, among other things, for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

“Fatah strongly condemns the gratuitous normalization with the occupation while Israel still doesn’t recognize the rights of the Palestinians and Arabs,” al-Jaghoob commented.

“We are witnessing the implementation of the Netanyahu-Kushner-Greenblatt plan,” he said, referring to US presidential advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. “The most important article of this plan calls for establishing relations between Israel and the Arab countries before seeking peace with the Palestinians.”

The Fatah official called for an “Arab popular response” to the efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab countries.
Iran, Hamas condemn Netanyahu visit to Oman: ‘Israel seeking Muslim division’
Iran on Friday night condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise visit to Oman, claiming the Jewish state was seeking “to create divisions between Muslim countries” in the region.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bassam Ghasemi said: “This regime seeks to create divisions between Muslim countries and obscure 70 years of usurpation, rape and killing of the oppressed Palestinians.”

He further claimed the US and the “Zionist lobby” in Washington were pressuring Islamic countries “to normalize relations” with Israel.

“History and experience show that retreating and acquiescing to the illegitimate demands of the United States and the usurper Zionist regime will make them more bold and more dominant in the region, while ignoring the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights,” he said.

“In our view, the Islamic countries of the region should not allow the White House to use the Zionist regime to create a climate promoting new troubles in the region.”

Iran seeks Israel’s destruction, and arms, trains and funds terrorist groups on Israel’s borders.

Israeli farmers fear for future as Jordan claims back lands
Every morning with the first rays of sunlight, Eitan Guedj leaves his house in Israel, passes through two checkpoints and heads for his pepper plantation in Ghumar, a leased Jordanian territory the neighboring kingdom now wants back.

He is joined by around 30 fellow Israeli farmers and some 150 Thai workers who make a living from the 1,500 dunum (150 hectare) desert enclave just beyond a hill dominating the skyline of Tsofar village in southern Israel.

Each worker has a permit to pass through the Israeli and Jordanian checkpoints, the 36-year-old said.

“The crossings are open 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset.”

For the quarter of a century since a historic peace deal, Israel has leased from Jordan the border territories of Ghumar, in its southern province of Aqaba, and Baqura in the northern province of Irbid.

But on Sunday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said his country had notified Israel that it wants to take back the two areas.

The lands in question were ceded to Jordan as part of the countries’ 1994 peace treaty, but Amman agreed Israeli farmers could still access and work the plots as part of a 25-year-lease that had been widely expected in Israel to be renewed.

King Abdullah’s announcement on Sunday came days before the end of a one-year notice period.
Poll: Half of Canadian BDS Supporters Would Continue Boycotting Israel Even If It Agreed to All Their Demands
A new survey suggests that nearly half of Canadian supporters of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign would continue seeking to penalize Israel, even if it agreed to all of the campaign’s demands.

The poll — commissioned by the group La’ad Canada, and carried out by Campaign Research in mid September — found that 12 percent of the 1,485 Canadians surveyed were aware of the Palestinian-led boycott movement, which has attracted support from a limited but growing number of students, academics, cultural figures, and others in North America.

When given a basic definition of BDS, 19 percent said they backed its positions, while 33 percent disagreed and 48 percent said they did not know.

Of the 19 percent who expressed support for BDS, 45 percent said Israel should be subject to additional boycotts, even if it abides by all BDS demands — namely, withdrawing from “occupied territories,” which were not defined by the poll, but are understood to include eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and — indirectly — the Gaza Strip.

The other two demands include removing the West Bank “separation barrier,” which was erected to stop Palestinian suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada, and allowing Palestinian refugees of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence and their five million descendants to immigrate to Israel — a right Palestinians say is enshrined in international law, but the Israeli government says is meant to turn the country into a Palestinian-majority state.
Shaming The "Apartheid" Smear
Outside the Curzon Cinema in London's Soho on Friday night, a little squad of Israel-haters from the Islamic group Inminds protests the cinema's hosting of an Israeli film show held under the auspices of the Israeli Embassy.

There's no Sandra Watfa this time to lead the demonisation of the little Jewish State; instead, there's some chap with a suspicion of a Scottish accent.

Nor are there any flag-waving Zionist activists on hand, although things suddenly get noisy when raucous chants of "Free Palestine!" are met by booming cries of "Shame on you!" from a pro-Israel couple who proceed (with what aim in view is unclear) to summon a waiting Mr Plod.
U.S. Rep. King after Auschwitz visit: "Bring pride back to Germany again"
A Republican congressman from Iowa said that Germany should stop apologizing for the Holocaust and sought an alternative, "Polish perspective" on the genocide mere days after visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau this summer.

Steve King, a notorious lawmaker from Iowa's 4th congressional district who has supported racist and Islamophobic policies since winning office in 2003, offered his thoughts to a right-wing Austrian publication associated with the nation's Freedom Party, as well as to the Washington Post, following a trip to Poland funded by a Holocaust remembrance group.

He extended his trip to include a visit to Austria, where he met with far-right officials from the party founded by former Nazi SS officers.

"Bring pride back in to Germany again," he told the Austrian publication, Unzensuriert, which means uncensored. "I came to Germany about 15 years ago, and a lot of conversations started with the words: 'I am German, therefore I apologize.' I took note the first time I heard this from an individual. But after I heard this ten, twelve times, then I knew: it's the culture."

"When I interviewed Poles," he continued, "especially the Jewish Poles that are left– and there are not very many of them– their level of resentment is so deep that they think any time a German opens his mouth he should apologize first. And I think you can't pass the sins of the fathers on to the succeeding generations. They need to know their history, they need to be aware of it, but that's not their sins. They were not yet born."

While King told the Washington Post that his experience at Auschwitz was "profound," he explained that he wanted to learn of the "Polish perspective" on events as well as the "Jewish perspective." Poland came under international criticism earlier this year for attempting to criminalize the accounting of Poles as complicit in the Nazi killings.
Dutch politician praises pro-Palestinian kite show featuring Nazi symbols
A Dutch local politician praised artists who flew kites in his city featuring Nazi symbols and a picture of a rocket in solidarity with Gaza.

Rens Reijnierse, a lawmaker from the southern city of Vlissingen, posted pictures of the kites last week on Twitter.

“Kites at Pool Beach. Beautiful autumn day in Vlissingen. No wind so the kites won’t fly but the project for Palestine still succeeded,” he wrote.

The lawmaker’s tweet triggered sharp rebuke from critics online and beyond, prompting Reijnierse to delete the message and apologize, according to the Omroep Zeeland regional broadcaster.

One of the kites created by the ruimteCAESUUR cooperative of artists featured a swastika in green, the official color of Hamas. Another showed Nazi Germany’s Imperial Eagle symbol carrying the copyright symbol, which the cooperative’s founder, Hans Overvliet, said is meant to protest the “extreme right’s appropriation of symbols.”

Other kites featured the Palestinian flag; one also had the image of a rocket resembling Hamas’s Qassam rocket.

Last survivor of Nazi raid on Rome’s Jewish ghetto dies
The last survivor of the 1943 Nazi raid on the Rome Ghetto, in which more than 1,000 Jews were taken away to concentration camps, has died aged 91, the Italian Jewish community said Friday.

Lello Di Segni was 16 years old when he was seized with his parents and three younger siblings in the round-up during the first weeks of occupation by the Third Reich’s troops.

Italy, where the far-right came to power in June as part of a populist coalition, this year marked 80 years since the promulgation of anti-Jewish laws by Mussolini’s fascist regime.

News of Di Segni’s death came just days after the country also commemorated the 75th anniversary of the ghetto raid, which saw German police arrest hundreds of people at dawn on 16 October 1943.

Some foreigners or people in mixed marriages were released, but of the 1,022 men, women and children sent to concentration camps after the round-up, just 16 returned — 15 men and one woman.

Di Segni was separated from his family and transported to Auschwitz, but survived and was later freed from the Dachau camp by the American army.
Anne Frank's stepsister tells her story
Eva Schloss is famously known around the world as Anne Frank’s stepsister. But the 89- year-old also has her own compelling story of survival—one that she shared with over 800 attendees on Thursday night in New York City.

“We did hopscotch and gossiping. We were just normal 11-year-old girls playing together,” Schloss said of Frank, who posthumously became her stepsister. Having fled Vienna with her family, Schloss recounted that the early days in Amsterdam were happy ones. “We weren’t best friends. I was a tomboy and she was very into clothes. She was very into boys and when she heard I had an older brother she was excited to meet him,” Schloss reminisced with a smile at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

“We must teach our children tolerance and respect, and remind them of the tragic results of hatred and intolerance. Even as the number of living Holocaust survivors wanes, their message is more crucial now than ever,” said Gillie Shanowitz, Co-director of New York Hebrew, the hosting organization of the event. The event was held two weeks prior to the 80 th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

In June 1942, two years after arriving in Holland, Schloss’ brother Heinz Geiringer, as well as Frank’s older sister Margot, received a call up notice with 10,000 other teenagers to be deported to Germany. Refusing to send their children, both families immediately decided the only hope of staying together—and alive—was to go into hiding. Schloss recounted that Otto Frank, Anne’s father, left a note falsely stating that the family fled to Switzerland, in hopes of confusing the Nazis—Schloss didn’t know where they really went.

Schloss’ family was taken in by a Dutch family, where they hid for two years, having to remain almost entirely silent at all times, with frequent visits from the Nazis searching the home. Schloss recounted that for her brother, a major challenge of years in silence was not being able to make music. Her father encouraged the older sibling to take up painting. Dozens of paintings from Heinz’s years in hiding were rescued after the war and on display at Thursday’s event.

Ultimately betrayed by a Dutch nurse working undercover for the Germans, on May 11, 1942-- Schloss’ 15 th birthday-- the family was captured and taken to Camp Westerbork, and then Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were split up. “Every day in Auschwitz was the same. Hours of hard labor, dividing rocks,” Schloss said. Liberated on January 27 1945, Schloss explained that the hardest part was yet to come.
Friends of Zion hosts event to honor Guatemala’s new ambassador to Israel
The Friends of Zion Museum hosted newly-confirmed Guatemalan Ambassador to Israel Mario Bucaro following the official presentation of his diplomatic credentials to President Reuven Rivlin and the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

At the event, FOZ founder Dr. Mike Evans said “Israel’s friends are a thousand times greater than her enemies, and Ambassador Bucaro, you are a true friend of Israel.”

The event was attended by high-profile Israeli, Guatemalan and Latin American officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

“Everyone knows the history, the Jewish connection to our capital city (Jerusalem) for 3,000 years, and you (Ambassador Bucaro) are expressing a very basic truth, but it takes a lot of bravery,” Hotovely said.

The Friends of Zion Museum is known for hosting foreign diplomats on official state-visits including economic, military and diplomatic delegations.

Thursday’s event was attended by Argentinian Ambassador to Israel Mariano Caucino, Chilean Ambassador to Israel Rodrigo Fernández, Colombian Ambassador to Israel Carlos Arturo Morales López, Costa Rican Ambassador to Israel Esteban Alfonso Penrod Padilla, Ecuadorian Ambassador to Israel María Gabriela Troya Rodríguez, Honduran Ambassador to Israel Mario Edgardo Castillo Mendoza, Panamanian Ambassador to Israel Adis Arlene Urieta Vega, and many other ambassadors, consuls and diplomats.
In first, Israeli judo team to compete in UAE tournament under national flag
Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Friday to accompany Israel’s national judo team at an international tournament where — for the first time in an Gulf country — they will be allowed to compete under their national flag.

Regev is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 on Saturday, where the Israeli national anthem will also be played for the team.

Pictures and videos shared to social media on Friday showed Regev, the coaches and team members singing and lighting Shabbat candles ahead of the two-day tournament.

Regev is the first Israeli minister to visit the UAE in an official capacity, as the countries have no official diplomatic relations.

Israeli athletes competing in international tournaments hosted by Arab countries have generally not been allowed to compete under their national flag, display national symbols on their uniforms or have their anthem played, despite protestations by Israel and international officials.

At last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, organizers refused to acknowledge the nationality of the Israeli athletes — a policy directed only at Israeli participants.

That included a ban on the display of identifying symbols, as well as a refusal to fly the Israeli flag and play the national anthem during ceremonies for Israel’s five medalists. The Israeli competitors instead competed under the flag of the International Judo Federation (IJF) due to the UAE’s non-recognition of Israel.

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