Monday, December 24, 2018

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Merry Christmas
The majority of Christians in Israel will not be celebrating this week, as they are Greek Orthodox, and their Christmas falls on January 7.

But this is still a good time to take stock of religious freedom in our region.

Earlier this month, the head of the Church of England wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that millions of Middle Eastern Christians are on the verge of “imminent extinction.”

“In the birthplace of our faith, the community faces extinction,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wrote, calling it “the worst situation since the Mongol invasions of the 13th century.”

Christians face government harassment in Egypt, leading them to emigrate in record numbers.

Lebanese Christians fear Hezbollah’s growing power in their country, along with an influx of Syrian refugees. Turkish Christians are also facing oppression by their government. And in Iraq, the Christian population has been nearly wiped out, but those remaining are trying to rebuild their lives.

Closer to home, the Christian Palestinian population is in a constant downward trend.

Christians have long been fleeing Palestinian-controlled areas in light of systemic abuse. Terrorists affiliated with then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat famously raided and trashed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002, holding monks hostage.

Last year, Christians were only 2% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, less than half their numbers a generation ago.

In 1950 in Bethlehem, Jesus’s birthplace, 86% residents were Christians. In 2017, they were only 12%.

Netanyahu to Christian IDF Soldiers: ‘You Belong to the Most Moral Army on Earth’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Christian members of the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday.

“We are proud of you; the entire nation is proud of you,” Netanyahu told them at a civil New Year event at the Tel Aviv Palmach Museum. “You belong to the most moral army on earth.”

Netanyahu then took a shot at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said on Saturday that “the Jews in Israel kick men, but also women and children, when they’re on the ground.”

“He is obsessed with Israel,” said Netanyahu. “He knows what a moral army is, and he knows what a genuine democracy is, as opposed to an army that massacres women and children in Kurdish villages and a state which, to my regret, is becoming more dictatorial day by day.”

“But there has been an improvement,” he added. “Erdoğan used to attack me every two hours and now it is every six hours.”

The Democratic Socialists of America Are Bringing Hatred of Israel into the Democratic Party
At their 2017 convention, the left-wing political organization Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) passed an endorsement of boycotts of Israel by a nine-to-one margin; the resolution’s success met with enthusiastic chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The DSA also saw the electoral victories of three charismatic, young female candidates in November who beat out competition from the Democratic establishment: Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York will join the House of Representatives, and Julia Salazar the New York state senate. Of these, Tlaib is an all-out Israel hater, Salazar also seems to be one, and Ocasio-Cortez made some vague anti-Israel statements and then backtracked. Emily Benedek examines the new direction the organization is taking when it comes to the Jewish state:

Olivia Katbi Smith and Emily Rose Golden are the co-chairs of the Portland chapter of DSA. Before a . . . concert last March, they took the stage together to welcome their comrades and talk to them about a very important issue: “Palestine.” Olivia . . . took hold of the mike and introduced herself as “an Arab.” She then handed the microphone, relay-race style, to Emily, . . . who said, “And I’m Jewish.” Now that their bona fides had been established, Emily continued, reading from a script, . . . “So we want to debunk any myths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that paint it as a complicated conflict, something that has always been around and is unsolvable and we can just let them fight it out over there. . . . Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that there is anything other than an illegal and brutal occupation, designed and bankrolled by Western imperialist powers.” Cheers and whistles. . . .

Membership [in the DSA] ballooned to 32,000 in 2017 (from a mere 5,000 at its founding in 1982) on the coattails of Bernie Sanders’ [presidential] campaign, and boasted 50,000 members in 2018 after Trump’s election. The average age of a dues-paying DSA member has plummeted from sixty-eight years old to thirty-three between 2013 and now. The new members are a mishmash, unclear about what exactly “democratic socialism” means and entails, but unified by the belief that capitalism and conventional politics have failed their generation. They are also unified in the belief that Israel is the enemy of the righteous. . . .

But I wonder how Democratic voters and officials would respond if they knew that on August 30, 2018, Katbi Smith published on Facebook a drawing of Leila Khaled, a member of the [terrorist group] the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with a red heart and the date August 29, 1969, in honor of the 49th anniversary of Khaled’s hijacking of TWA flight 840 on its way from Rome to Tel Aviv. After the passengers were removed from the aircraft in Damascus, Khaled and her fellow hijackers blew up the plane’s nose cone. [Khaled also participated in an attempted hijacking the following year, in which her collaborator shot a flight attendant.] Today, Katbi Smith’s Twitter cover photo is a likeness of Leila Khaled.
Anti-Semites on the (Women’s) March
Is it any wonder that, during the very first meeting of the Women’s March leadership, according to Tablet, “Perez and Mallory allegedly first asserted that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people—and even, according to a close secondhand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade.”

Feminists have long argued that corporate boards and C-suites should include more women because it would make those businesses more accountable and ethical. More women, the argument goes, means a greater diversity of perspectives, which presumably would be better for business. That sentiment seems to have disappeared at the door of the Women’s March when it comes to Jewish women.

Furthermore, the Women’s March leaders have practiced their activist arts with a stunning lack of transparency about their organization’s financial dealings and status under federal laws governing nonprofit organizations. Where are the profits from all those $25 “Believe Women” T-shirts they hawk on their website? Who is in charge of the many millions raised online for the national Women’s March organization? Why did the organization delay filing its proof of non-profit status with the IRS? Why are local chapters of the organization seeing none of the money coming in while national leaders enjoy large salaries and budgets? The confusion and concern about the group’s finances have grown large enough that activists within the movement have called on its leadership to step down.

Women’s March leaders have demonstrated a near-pathological defensiveness when confronted about their behavior. When the New York Times’ Bari Weiss wrote an excoriation of the bigoted views of Women’s March leaders, Bland responded by calling her and other critics “apologists for the status quo, racist ideology, and the white nationalist patriarchy.” After the Tablet story appeared, Women’s March leaders hired a PR firm that sent out a bizarre series of emails to journalists who had tweeted or retweeted the story, hinting that Tablet would have to issue a correction but demanding that journalists would have to agree that the evidence the firm was offering for the correction be kept off the record.
Women’s March leader says white Jews ‘uphold white supremacy’
One of the co-founders and leaders of the Women’s March movement in the United States told The New York Times that white Jews are among those who “uphold white supremacy,” while also being oppressed by it.

Tamika Mallory, a black activist who has been at the center of claims that the movement’s leaders have anti-Semitic leanings, was responding to comments made by Vanessa Wruble, a Brooklyn-based activist, who, together with Mallory, was among the handful of women who initiated the January 2017 Women’s March on Washington, one of the biggest demonstrations in US history.

Top leaders of the organization have been accused of engaging in or condoning anti-Semitism, and failing to heed the concerns of its thousands of Jewish backers. Controversy surrounding the march also arose from Mallory’s ties to anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.

Wruble told the newspaper that she felt marginalized and eventually pushed out of the Women’s March movement by co-leaders Mallory and Carmen Perez, in part because of her Jewish heritage. At a first meeting with Mallory and Perez to discuss plans for a mass march, the two women tried to impress on her that Jews had to answer for what they claimed was a significant role in the black slave trade to the US, she said.

“Since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it,” Mallory said in a statement to The Times.

“I was taken aback,” Wruble said of the conversation. “I thought, ‘Maybe there are things I don’t know about my own people.’”

A search on Google led her to a book written by Farrakhan claiming Jews bore particular guilt for the slave trade. (h/t Dave4321)
Is J Street Still Pro-Israel?
J Street claims it wants to reform Birthright content, but it hasn’t approached Birthright with thoughtful, constructive educational ideas; it’s just sought to sabotage the program. Dozens of campus professionals in the field tell me that J Street U activists work assiduously to undermine Birthright recruitment drives. They make life hell for potential participants.

So you see, “bringing home the realities of the occupation and mobilizing our communities to help bring it to an end” is the hostile hobgoblin that J Street has become.

In the name of “our communities” — a term that J Street loves using, denoting a hard-left orbit of Jews and non-Jews for whom haranguing Israel is the psychoneurotic driving force in their lives — J Streeters are prepared to throw the baby out with the bathwater and kill Birthright.

Crushing the “occupation” and promoting Palestinian independence-cum-dictatorship is more important than building basic Jewish identity and core Zionist sympathies.

The truth is that in historical perspective we can’t be too surprised that members of J Street’s younger generation have ended up so distant from Israel. Their elders certainly laid the groundwork over the past 20 years for such souring on Israel.

Have you ever heard of a place where “fundamentalists and gangs” in a “surging tide of extremism,” “spit,” “beat,” “vandalize,” “assault,” “attack,” “fight” and “brutally abuse” innocent people?

Are you familiar with a country (mention Afghanistan and Iran to hint at its nature) where “religious extremists” seek to “turn back the clock” (mention this three times for emphasis), notoriously practice “discrimination” (repeat four times), and otherwise seek to “impose,” “intimidate,” “demand,” “repress,” “coerce” and “dictate” (nine repetitions) their “intolerant” views on a beleaguered society?

Well, that was the language used by the New Israel Fund to describe Israel in a fundraising campaign launched in 1997 to “promote religious pluralism in Israel.” Israel was further described as a country that “shows the world a repugnant face of Judaism” and where it is not safe to walk down the street without being “set upon by a gang of angry, enraged men.”
From our partnerJ.K. Rowling attacks Corbynites and ‘Saint Jeremy’ on Twitter
JK Rowling has come under fire from hard-left critics for a blistering social media comment she has written, entitled “The Visitation of the Corbynites”.

Written as a Biblical parody, Rowling’s 16 scathing tweets attack “Saint Jeremy” and his “disciples”, whom she calls “the host”.

She devotes two of the tweets to Labour’s problem with antisemitism. She writes: “‘Speak not of the Jews!’ cried the host. ‘Why must thou speak so oft of the Jews?’ ‘Yea, I must speak,’ said she, ‘for when Jews no longer feel safe in Labour then I too must leave.’ And one of the host did shout something about the Rothschilds”.

That person, remarks Rowling, “was hastily hushed by his brethren, who did declare, ‘he is not one of ours, thou[gh] he sports a #JC4PM [Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister] halo.’ And another did speak and he said, ‘it is not antisemitic to criticise Israel,’ and she did put her face in her hands and want to weep”.

The author, creator of the Harry Potter series for children and a number of adult thriller novels, has been vocal in her criticism of Corbyn’s Labour, not least because she is one of the most high-profile donors to the Labour Party, giving it at least £1 million before Corbyn became leader.

Earlier this year she planted her flag firmly on the side of the Jewish community, speaking out vehemently in support of those at the receiving end of antisemitic abuse, and urging other non-Jews of goodwill to do the same.
David Collier: Jeremy Corbyn supporters attack website that exposes antisemitism
Last night, my website fell victim to targeted cyber-crime. It was offline for several hours due to a DDos attack, which is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic by overwhelming a website with a flood of requests.

There was a warning. I was given twenty-four hours to comply with a simple set of demands, or, as my attacker threatened, he would be ‘forced’ to take my website down. The demands were simple, I just had to remove everything on this website that is critical of Jeremy Corbyn.

Why me? Why this website?

My blog is a website that some people do not want online. For several years I have been fighting back against rising antisemitism. My work is diligently researched and carefully argued. I have produced forensic reports that are 100s of pages long and contain mountains of evidence. My writing is balanced, moderate and logical.

I am a key target for one simple reason. I am not what they want me to be. They call me a racist, an extremist and a misogynist. They describe me as someone who disrupts events, seeks to shut down debate and deny platforms. I am labelled a homophobe, an Islamophobe, an anti-Palestinian and most recently, even a paedophile:

Not a single one of the smears is even partially true and if any of these smears had weight, Corbyn’s activists would simply dismiss me. It is because I am none of those things, because I am so effective, that they view me as dangerous. Devoid of arguments against me and unable to counter the evidence, they resort to illegal attacks. These people are antisemitic fascists.

Why I’m Suing Max Blumenthal and Benjamin Norton
The complaint I’m about to file, with the help of a law firm that has taken on the case pro bono, details a long list of politically motivated attacks against myself as well as many other journalists, rescue workers and activists whose work counters Russian and Syrian propaganda. These coordinated attacks frequently put my personal safety at risk by alleging that I am an agent of the U.S. or Israeli governments. In the places I report, such accusations could result in detainment, deportation, arrest or worse. This lawsuit is not meant to pursue a personal vendetta but instead uncover the motives for Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Norton’s participation in a dangerous campaign of disinformation against people whose work threatens Russian and Syrian interests.

The problem with real journalists, from the perspective of autocratic governments like Russia and Syria, is that we report in places they would prefer to operate in without consequence — which is why their defenders spend so much time attacking us. I’ve spent the last seven years partly based in Beirut, Lebanon, from where I’ve covered topics such as the Syrian conflict and the war against ISIS. Beirut is also where my father, the journalist Terry Anderson, was kidnapped and held for six and a half years by a radical Islamist militia that would eventually be absorbed by Hezbollah, the Iran-supported political party and military group that currently controls much of Lebanon’s government and is fighting in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad, with Russia’s help.

I’ve always been drawn to write about Hezbollah, partly because it’s a fascinating organization, but also because the group has been widely blamed for my father’s kidnapping — though I believe the truth is more nuanced. While reporting my book The Hostage’s Daughter, I developed multiple sources in Hezbollah and have published stories about the group with outlets including NBC News, Newsweek, The Nation, Foreign Policy, Esquire and VICE.

Despite what happened to my father, I have always tried to report on Hezbollah with as much objectivity and accuracy as possible, but we all make mistakes. The very few times in my career there have been substantive errors in my reporting, I immediately issued corrections, which is standard procedure. And yet, like so many journalists, whether I make mistakes or not, every time I publish a story that counters Russian interests in Syria, I am met with a barrage of insults and accusations on social media — all of which I can handle, as an adult and a professional. (h/t L_King)
Glenn Greenwald’s Web of Propaganda
Purportedly dedicated to “adversarial journalism,” whose “prime target is the US intelligence apparatus,” Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept, according to one commentator, “makes no pretense of being a neutral news organization … its one-sidedness is so flagrant and relentless that it easily traverses the line separating argumentation from propaganda.”

That is true in many areas. Greenwald blames the United States and its allies for the existence of Islamic terrorism, and claims that the 9/11 attacks are used as a pretext to violate Americans’ civil liberties. He also says that the FBI acts to create and encourage crimes by Muslims, and minimizes the importance of numerous prosecutions against Islamists in the United States, often omitting facts about defendants in his essays.

Among Greenwald’s most egregious claims, he has:
  1. Justified the murder of Fort Hood soldiers by Nidal Hasan and the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by an Islamic terrorist.
  2. Justified murders committed by ISIS and Al Qaeda.
  3. Justified the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas and Hezbollah.
  4. Denounced Israel, not Iran, as the “bogeyman” in the Middle East, claiming that Israel is a major terror actor.
  5. Likened US actions in Iraq to the Nazi seizures of Austria and Czechoslovakia.
  6. Accused the US military of deliberately targeting Muslim civilians instead of targeting actual terrorists.
  7. Characterized the terrorists held at Guantanamo as patriots who were merely defending their lands from foreign invasion.
  8. Claimed that officials declare an act to be terrorism only when Muslims commit it, rather than when non-Muslims are the perpetrators.
  9. Claimed that the FBI is targeting Islamist terrorists and simply framing Muslims.
  10. Claimed fancifully that the US media uncritically parrots US government claims.
  11. Charged writers and thinkers who criticize Islam with an “anti-Muslim animus.”
  12. Claimed that criticism of Palestinian terrorism leaves the Palestinians with no options to fight Israel’s “occupation.”
  13. Charged that accusations of antisemitism are just ploys to shut down criticism of Israel.
  14. Denounced the US killing of jihad terror mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki.
  15. Sided with Marc Lamont Hill and justified his genocidal call “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Columbia Professor Dishonestly Smears Israel
Not content with the growing litany of lies, Franke then goes on to describe an infamous genocidal call issued by Marc Lamont-Hill as “simply a statement of support for a one-state solution”. Lamont-Hill was rightly fired by CNN as a result. That’s a convenient deception. The words “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” are commonly understood as a call to destroy Israel.

No matter how Franke may try to spin it, that’s what these words mean, that’s how Israelis understand them. If someone wants to express support for a one-state solution, there are a myriad of ways to do that without appearing to stand with the antisemites who seek the destruction of an entire state. Never mind, in Franke’s eyes, this is a part of a “campaign” to “shut down any discussion of Israel or Palestine that casts a critical light on the state of Israel.”

None of this is too surprising. While a wave of Palestinian terrorists set about knifing and shooting Israeli civilians in 2015, Franke saw fit to tweet, “Palestinian resistance 2 Israeli policy isn’t ‘Islamic terrorism’ – it’s anti-colonial resistance.” Having justified and romantically whitewashed vicious murder as mere “resistance” Franke’s voice is hardly one of moral authority.

Moving beyond the individual points raised, it’s hard to ignore the wider context of what speech like this has on Jews on American campuses nowadays. Increasingly, Jews are confronted by a vitriolic hate of Israel on campus, forcing them to either cease speaking up for the human rights of Jews and Israelis, or to become targets for hate themselves for having the temerity to push back against the racism directed against Israelis and Jews. Franke’s essay is so myopically self-deluded, it’s mind-boggling.

Far from criticism against Israel being shut down, it’s reaching fever pitch in some parts, and threatens to boil over with attacks on Jewish and Israeli students.

Franke’s university, Columbia, has become a hotbed of virulent hatred in recent years, with a Jewish professor recently confronted by antisemitic graffiti, and not for the first time. Israeli and Jewish students on campus have reported being “systematically harassed”, targeted for their nationality, being screamed at and physically intimidated by members of the anti-Israel SJP group. None of this seems to matter to Franke.

The New York Review of Books should carefully more carefully screen its contributors – peddling hateful lies like these is tearing American society apart from within.
Twitter Finally Removes Some Palestinian Terrorist Content
Pressure from Israeli authorities compelled Twitter to remove 20 accounts belonging to top Hamas and Hezbollah leaders in the first half of 2018, the Middle East Monitor reports. These include accounts belonging to Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Fawzi Barhoom, and Rawhi Barhoum.

The move came after the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Cybercrime Department issued a June 26 letter demanding that Twitter “permanently close” the accounts.

“Article 24 to the Israeli Counterterror Law (2016) states that any act of solidarity with a terror organization including any publication of its actions is an offense punishable by three or five years imprisonment,” the letter said.

It identified Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah as organizations that Israel considers covered by the anti-terrorism law. The United States also has designated these organizations as terrorist groups.

Twitter says that it takes local laws into consideration: “If we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time.” It suspended 205,156 accounts for violating its rule against promoting terrorism, 91 percent of which were flagged by the company’s internal tools, Twitter told The Times of Israel.

Twitter also recently enforced an Israeli gag order related to a botched operation in Gaza. The website Electronic Intifada received notice from Twitter that it had to delete a link to a story revealing the identities of Israel’s undercover operatives, even though the site is based in the United States.
Star NBA player Lebron James apologizes for 'Jewish money' post
Interviewed on an HBO program last week, James said, "They got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality. And it's like, 'This is my team. You do what the f--- I tell y'all to do. Or we get rid of y'all.'"

In the same interview, James expressed his appreciation for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, a Jew, whom he said understood that players had feelings on issues.

"It doesn't even matter if Adam agrees on what we're saying, he at least would want to hear us out," James said.

The Instagram post, presumably seen by the basketball star's 45.8 million followers, caused a backlash on social media, with users accusing him of encouraging anti-Semitism.

Speaking to ESPN on Sunday night, James said, "Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone. … That's not why I chose to share that lyric. … It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.

"So, I actually thought it was a compliment and obviously it wasn't, through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies."
‘Little old Jewish lady’ feted for telling off anti-Semites on Paris metro
An Jewish woman scolded a group of French anti-government protesters for performing an anti-Semitic gesture on a train platform, after which the police opened an investigation into the incident and a French government minister vowed to catch the men who verbally abused her.

The incident happened on Saturday night and was witnessed by a reporter for the 20 Minutes media outlet who later described in a Twitter post how the woman had accosted the apparently drunk protesters and told them her father had sent to Auschwitz and that they should stop doing the so-called quenelle, a quasi-Nazi salute.

No other passengers stood up to the group.

In response, the men, who were wearing the yellow vests which have become the uniform of French anti-government protesters, shouted abuse at the woman and mocked her reference to the Nazi concentration camp where over a million Jews were murdered during World War II.

Thibaut Chevillard’s tweet went viral and sparked condemnations from politicians, lawmakers and members of the government, among them France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

On Sunday, the woman, who was identified only as “Agnes,” spoke with 20 Minutes about her experience, dismissing the comments as “drunk talk,” and saying she would not file a police report.

Qatar preparing to welcome Jewish, Israeli fans for World Cup
Authorities in Qatar are preparing to host thousands of Jews and Israelis during the 2022 FIFA World Cup competition. Arrangements need to be made to supply kosher food and places of prayer for soccer fans traveling to the Gulf state.

Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (the organization responsible for coordinating among public and private entities to ensure that infrastructure and development projects are delivered in readiness for the 2022 FIFA World Cup), met with US Rabbi Marc Schneier, considered the unofficial Jewish chaplain of the Persian Gulf states, and asked him to serve as an adviser with regards to matters relating to hosting Jewish sports fans who will attend the matches.

"This is an exceptional development that attests to the sensitivity that the Qataris show toward Israelis and the Jewish world," said Rabbi Schneier. He said the Qataris sought his advice with concern for the needs of Jewish fans in everything related to kosher food. "I responded to the request with joy. The fact that our conversation took place on this subject is already amazing," Schneier said.

Whether the Qataris will set up a synagogue for Jewish fans to pray inside Schneier said: "No comment. They have left me to advise them on how to host the Jewish fans. We have begun discussing the details. Al-Thawadi told the New York Times in an interview with that Israelis will be very welcome during the Mondial games in Qatar."

Rabbi Schneier is a well-known American rabbi who founded the Foundation for Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Understanding. For the last 15 years he has been a frequent guest in the palaces of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Schneier was previously described by Newsweek Magazine as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in the US; he serves as the rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in New York.
Misplaced 2,000-year-old ring discovered in Jerusalem’s City of David
Some 2,000 years ago, a Jewish penitent misplaced a bronze ring during his climb of a 600-meter-long (about 2,000 feet) pilgrims’ thoroughfare leading to the Temple Mount. While the recently recovered ring is today heavily corroded, its central blue semi-precious stone still sparkles.

The ring was recently discovered at the City of David’s Sifting Project in Emek HaTsurim, in a bucket of dirt excavated from a structure on the side of the broad 7.5-meter (24-feet) -wide road that is thought to have housed a ritual bath, or mikveh. According to City of David archaeologists, the worshiper likely lost the ring when fresh from ritual purification prior to his ascent to the Temple Mount.

For the past seven years at the City of David National Park in Jerusalem, archaeologists have been excavating a now-subterranean stairway that once served as a main artery to the Temple Mount, beginning at the intersection of the Kidron and Ben Hinnom Valleys.

“Every step on this street brought the pilgrims closer to the Temple,” said City of David archaeologist Nahshon Szanton, in a recent video tour of the site. “Imagine to yourselves the joy, the songs, the prayers, the spiritual journey that these people experience when they know they are just meters away from reaching the gates of the Temple,” he added, while climbing the monumental staircase.
The life and legacy of Holocaust hero Simcha ‘Kazik’ Rotem
Schools across Israel will hold a memorial day on Monday in memory of Simcha “Kazik” Rotem, presumed to be the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Rotem passed away over Shabbat.

We will remember that the Holocaust also had great heroism, and we have been rebirthed and grown from that Holocaust,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting, noting that he had instructed the director-general of the Education Ministry to hold the memorial day.

“We often use the word hero lightly, but sometimes you have true heroes, and Kazik was one of them,” said ex-Labor MK Einat Wilf, who was a close friend of Rotem for more than a decade, someone she invited to her Knesset swearing-in ceremony.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the act of Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland on April 19, 1943, to oppose Nazi Germany’s final effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to death camps.

Wilf’s mother, screenwriter Miri R. Wilf, spent years interviewing Rotem for a feature film that has yet to be released. Miri Wilf shared exclusive excerpts from the screenplay with The Jerusalem Post, in which Rotem describes that Passover eve aktion of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis. The remaining Jews knew that the Germans would murder them, and they decided to resist to the last man.

At the time, the Jewish fighters were sitting on mattresses in hidden bunkers.

They are keeping themselves occupied to hide their fear, according to the manuscript. Rotem is playing with a Polish revolver. Suddenly, shooting is heard. Taking up positions by the windows, they watch the German soldiers approach the gate walking in an endless procession, while behind them are tanks, armored vehicles, light cannons and hundreds of Waffen-SS units on motorcycles.

“They look like they are going to war,” Rotem says.
His girlfriend, Deborah, who was killed in the war, tells Rotem she is afraid.
“I can’t wait to fight,” Rotem responds.
When Deborah asks Rotem if he thinks they’ll make it, he responds: “The only thing I can think of is how to blow the bastards up.”

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