Saturday, December 29, 2018

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The elephants of antisemitism in the European room
These progressives overwhelmingly link antisemitism to attitudes they consider to be “right-wing”, anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant. Accordingly, their chief European bogeyman is Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban. He is widely deemed to be antisemitic, largely because of his campaign against the Hungarian Jewish financier and proponent of open borders, George Soros, and Islamophobic because of his policy of keeping Muslims out of Hungary.

Yet the countries where the survey’s respondents said antisemitism had increased “a little” or “a lot” were the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Sweden (increases of 24, 21, 14 and 11 percentage points respectively over the past six years). By contrast, in Hungary the share of respondents actually decreased (by 21 percentage points).

In Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the share of respondents who said they had considered leaving the country due to antisemitism increased by 19, 17 and 11 percentage points respectively. In Hungary, the share went down by eight percentage points.

More than 70 per cent of respondents in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands considered expressions of hostility to Jews in the street and other public spaces a “very big” or “fairly big” problem; but fewer than half of Jews in Poland, Hungary and Denmark expressed such concern.

These three countries have all taken harsh measures to restrict Muslim immigration and activity. Coincidence?

The resurgence of antisemitism in the west is a symptom that it is in existential trouble. The evidence of just how much trouble it is in is that so many in the west fail correctly to diagnose it.
At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise, why do prominent black anti-Semites get a pass?
If anything, you’d think that black Americans might choose to walk a mile in Jews’ shoes. The two ethnicities, after all, share a common bond of persecution.

Yet, as conservative commentator Larry Elder, himself a black man, pointed out in 2002, a survey commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League “found blacks three to four times more likely than non-blacks to be anti-Semitic.” He continued:

Black Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., urges America to rethink its support of Israel. Reverend Jesse Jackson, who once called Jews “Hymie” and New York City “Hymie-town,” now demands that George Bush ensure the safety of Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat.
Trending: The first liberal vulture circles, slams Ruth Bader Ginsburg for not resigning before now

The Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan recently likened the “plight” of black Americans to that of the Palestinians, noting blacks “were in the same position.” Farrakhan also exaggerates the Jewish role in slavery, and once called Hitler a “great man” and Judaism a “gutter religion.”

This was before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, a student of critical race theory whose admitted mentor was a devoutly anti-Semitic preacher. None of this of course prevented him from being sworn in as the nation’s forty-fourth president.

All of which leads back to the title question of this post, which arose for me following the recent publication in the the New York Times’s Sunday Book Review of an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker.
Douglas Murray: UK Welcomes Extremists, Bans Critics of Extremists
In November, it was reported that the Pakistani Christian mother of five, Asia Bibi, was unlikely to be offered asylum by the British government due to concerns about "community" relations in the UK. What this means is that the UK government was worried that Muslims of Pakistani origin in Britain may object to the presence in the UK of a Christian woman who has spent most of the last decade on death row in Pakistan, before being officially declared innocent of a trumped-up charge of "blasphemy".

One person who has had no trouble being in London is Dr Ataollah Mohajerani, Iran's former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Mohajerani is best known for his book-length defence of the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against the British novelist Salman Rushdie.

This week we learned that the UK government has allowed in a man called Brahim Belkaid, a 41-year old of German origin, believed to have inspired up to 140 people to join al-Qaeda and ISIS. His Facebook messages have included messages with bullets and a sword on them saying, "Jihad: the Only Solution".

It is almost as though the UK government has decided that while extremist clerics can only rarely be banned, critics of such clerics can be banned with ease. The problem is that the trend for taking a laxer view of extremists than of their critics keeps on happening.

Netanyahu in Brazil: Israel is forming an alliance with a superpower
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Brazil on Friday and met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

"This is the first time an Israeli Prime Minister visits Brazil, and we are forming an alliance with a superpower that has close to a quarter of a billion civilians," Netanyahu said. "This is another sign that Israel is a rising power in the world."

Netanyahu and Bolsonaro agreed to tighten Israeli-Brazilian relations in the areas of the economy, security, water irrigation systems and technology, among others.

Bolsonaro said that he is planning to visit Israel after Netanyahu's visit.

"Israel is interested in Bolsonaro's promise to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem," a senior political source said. "Brazil is a huge country that can turn in to a powerful ally."

Bolsonaro presented Netanyahu with the highest national decoration for visitors in Brazil, granted in the past to former US President Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth.

Following the meeting with Bolsonaro, Netanyahu is expected to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pomepo in Brasilia.
Hailing ‘brotherhood,’ Brazil’s president-elect says he’ll visit Israel by March
Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said Friday he expects to visit Israel by March 2019, after accepting an invitation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is currently on a state trip to Brazil.

“We will be starting a difficult government from January, but Brazil has potential,” Bolsonaro said, indicating that the Israel visit would come, in part, to reciprocate Netanyahu’s trip to Brazil. “So that we can overcome obstacles, we need good allies, good friends, good brothers, like Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Netanyahu arrived in Brazil on Friday, accompanied by his wife Sarah and son Yair, and the family is set to stay on through Tuesday to join other foreign dignitaries at the inauguration in Brasilia of Bolsonaro, a far-right, security-conscious politician and former army officer elected in October on pledges to crack down on endemic crime and corruption.

Netanyahu’s is the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to Brazil.

Following a private meeting Friday in a century-old military fort on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, the two issued the warm words to the media, hailing a nascent “brotherhood” between their countries that will boost economic, military, and technological cooperation.

They then visited a local synagogue.

Ahead of Netanyahu visit, incoming Brazilian leader blasts Israel critics
Brazil’s incoming president Jair Bolsonaro pushed back against critics and feted burgeoning ties with Israel Thursday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his way to Brasilia for the new leader’s swearing in.

Jair Bolsonaro said those who were protesting his drive to develop deeper ties with Israel had done nothing to help Latin America’s biggest country.

“There is no reason to criticize dialogue, especially when the criticism comes from those who did nothing, only destroyed and stole from the country,” Bolsonaro said on Twitter.

He said Brazil was interested in technological services that Israel is a world leader in, likely referring to agritech and cyber security.

“We want the best for Brazil,” he wrote.

The comments came shortly after Netanyahu played up potential ties with Brasilia as he boarded a plane for Rio de Janiero to attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration next week.

“I’m glad that we can open a new era in Israel’s relationship with this superpower,” he said, describing Brazil as “a vast nation that represents vast potential for Israel, including in the economic, security and diplomatic realms.”
Report: Mattis Rejected Request by Netanyahu to Spur Arms Deal With Croatia
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly denied a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to soften the US conditions that were holding up a $500 million arms deal between Israel and Croatia over the sale of a dozen F-16 fighter jets, an Israeli official told Axios.

In order to approve the deal, the United States required that Israel uninstall Israeli systems included in the F-16s, which would return the planes to their initial state prior to Israeli upgrades, before sending them to Croatia. The Croatians said that they would nullify the agreement if they couldn’t receive the “upgraded” Israeli type of the F-16s.

“For reasons we don’t fully understand, the Americans hardened their conditions and, apparently, we misread their position on the deal,” the Israeli official told Axios. “Practically, the F-16 deal with Croatia is dead, and we don’t think it is possible to get an agreement that will reconcile the US conditions and the Croatian demands in the tender.”

The official added that Israel will have “to apologize to Croatia for the deal falling apart and move on.”
Chancellor Merkel’s Legacy and the Jews
Yet Merkel’s legacy for the nation may to a large extent be heavily influenced by one fateful decision: opening Germany’s borders to refugees and other immigrants in September 2015. Since then, about a million and a half asylum seekers have entered the country. Many came from Muslim countries, particularly Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Merkel misjudged the problems that so many refugees would bring with them.

The Hanns-Seidel Foundation studied attitudes of asylum-seekers in the German federal state of Bavaria. It found that more than half of those from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan believe that Jews have “too much influence” in the world. And a study by Gunther Jikeli about Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Germany, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, led to a statement by the organization’s Berlin Director Deidre Berger: “Until now, reports that many new arrivals in Germany espouse antisemitism have been largely anecdotal. But this new scientific analysis shows that the problem is widespread in the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq. Anti-Semitic attitudes, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories are common, as well as a categorical rejection by many of the State of Israel.”

The official story is that there are three to four antisemitic incidents per day in Germany. But there are probably more, because many victims do not complain.

German Jews are increasingly feeling the brunt of two phenomena: the many antisemites among Muslim immigrants and their descendants, as well as the revitalization of the antisemitic extreme right. Even if the situation does not get worse, it is already bad enough and unlikely to improve.

The country’s newly-appointed Antisemitism Commissioner Felix Klein has said that he is not surprised that many German Jews are debating whether to leave. This leads to a troublesome question: Chancellor Kohl enabled the building up of a greatly increased Jewish community through immigration. Will Merkel’s legacy be a substantially diminished Jewish community?
14 Times of Israel stories that mattered most in 2018
ToI journalists in Israel and around the world discuss their articles from the past year that have left the deepest impressions

Over the past year, as every year, Times of Israel reporters have pursued stories across Israel and around the world, striving to shed light for our readers on complicated and important issues, and sometimes directly affecting how those issues play out.

From stymieing (inadvertently) Israeli government censorship of the entire internet to examining the sordid case of a sex offender rabbi; from uncovering political aides’ inappropriate conduct to reporting objectively on the Pittsburgh tragedy despite a personal stake in the tragedy; from sampling the most iconic kosher food in New York, to introducing the world to a secret synagogue in Dubai, our journalists have worked to inform, entertain and empower our (4 million a month and rising) readers.

As we close out the year, we asked our reporters to look back over the articles they’ve written in the last 12 months, and select the ones that mattered most. Here, then, is their list of important and Times of Israel stories that made an impact in 2018.
IDF strikes Hamas post following rocket fire
An IDF combat helicopter struck a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip after a mortar was launched from the coastal enclave towards southern Israel late Friday night, the military said.

The Red Alert incoming rocket system was not activated as the projectile landed in an open area, causing no damage or injuries.

The mortar round was the first since the first to be launched from the Strip since intense fighting in November which saw hundreds of rockets fired towards southern Israel, killing one man and causing damage to property in several communities.

The launch came several hours after 26 year-old Karam Fayyad from Khan Younis was killed by IDF fire during the 40th week of border protests.

Another six people, including a journalist, paramedic and minor were wounded during the protests which saw some 4,000 Palestinians take part despite the stormy weather, throwing rocks and explosive devices at troops who responded with riot dispersal means including live fire.

Earlier on Friday several balloons attached to an explosive device was found in the yard of a kindergarten in the Sdot Negev Regional Council community of Kfar Maimon. Another balloon with an explosive device was found in the community of Moshav Zru’a later on Friday.

The balloons were the first after a lull of several weeks.
UNIFIL confirms tunnel filled with cement by IDF crossed border, broke UN rules
United Nations peacekeeping forces on the Israeli-Lebanese border on Saturday confirmed that a tunnel filled up and destroyed by the Israeli army a day earlier had crossed the border into the Jewish state and was in “violation of resolution 1701,” the UN decision that ended 2006’s Second Lebanon War.

It was the third such tunnel that UNIFIL forces confirmed crossed over the Blue Line, which demarcates the internationally recognized border, out of five that the Israel Defense Forces have so far said they have uncovered. UNIFIL has not confirmed Israel’s allegations they were dug by Hezbollah.

The IDF on Friday said it poured an unspecified “liquid” into the underground passage to block it, and aired footage of people in the southern Lebanese village of Kafr Kila reacting to an overflow of viscous material, that some media reports said was cement.

UNIFIL’s statement on Saturday said that the tunnel opening in Kafr Kila had been inside a cement factory, indicating that the material could have been a mixture of both substances.

“In the course of the ongoing investigation into the presence of tunnels along the Blue Line, UNIFIL together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) surveyed the premises of an old concrete factory in the southern part of [Kafr Kila], after UNIFIL had observed liquified cement flowing out from the building within this facility,” the peacekeepers said.

“The liquid overflowing on the Lebanese side had been injected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) through a shaft drilled on their end of a tunnel that UNIFIL had previously independently confirmed to be crossing the Blue Line in the same general area. Based on this observation, UNIFIL can confirm that the old concrete factory in [the village] has an opening to the tunnel, which is crossing the Blue Line.”
Saudis give $50 million to cash-strapped UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Saudi Arabia has completed a $50 million donation to the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, the organization’s leader said Friday, amid a funding shortfall following the US decision to cut all financial aid.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, signed an agreement to finalize the transfer of Saudi funds during a visit to the Gulf kingdom.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous support consistently provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in recent years. The exemplary 2018 donation of $50 million to UNRWA’s core services is a new milestone in our important cooperation,” he said in a statement.

The agency said the donation was the “fulfillment of the pledge” made by King Salman in April and brought Saudi Arabia’s total contribution for the year to $160 million.

“This very generous and crucial $50 million contribution has now been transferred to UNRWA, confirming the unprecedented mobilization of support by donors and partners worldwide this year to help UNRWA to overcome its worst financial crisis ever,” the statement said.

In August, the Trump administration announced it would end all support for UNRWA, after having long been its largest donor.
40 suspected terrorists in pyramids bombing killed by Egyptian forces
Egyptian security forces have killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the ministry of interior said on Saturday, a day after a deadly bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people.

The ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Friday's attack, but said its forces killed 30 people during raids on their hideouts in Giza where it said "terrorist elements" were planning a series of attacks targeting state institutions and the tourism industry.

Security forces also killed 10 suspected militants in North Sinai, where the country is fighting an insurgency led by Islamic State.

State news agency MENA said that the suspects were killed in a gun battle.

The ministry did not give any details about the suspects' identity or whether there had been any casualties or injuries among the security forces. The statement said the three raids took place simultaneously.

The ministry published photos of bloodied bodies with their faces concealed and assault rifles and shotguns lying on the floor beside them.

Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb blast hit their tour bus on Friday less than 4 km (2.5 miles) from Egypt's world-famous Giza pyramids.
Arizona Attorney General Argues BDS Seeks to ‘Strengthen’ Terror-Supporting Palestinian Groups
A brief filed last week by Arizona’s attorney general maintains that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel aids terrorists — potentially marking the first time a US government official has formally taken such a stance, according to a lawyer familiar with the case.

In an opening argument submitted to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote that legislation enacted by his state in 2016 that bars public bodies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel seeks to prevent taxpayer funds from subsidizing discrimination based on nationality, national origin, and religion.

The law, passed with bipartisan super-majorities, was blocked by a federal court in September following a lawsuit alleging First Amendment violations, with Judge Diane Humetewa ruling in favor of plaintiff Mikkel Jordahl, a state contractor who said his ability to boycott Israel in a professional capacity was being unconstitutionally limited.

“A restriction of one’s ability to participate in collective calls to oppose Israel unquestionably burdens the protected expression of companies wishing to engage in such a boycott,” Humetewa determined.

Similar legislation was suspended and subsequently amended this year in Kansas, one of 26 states to pass measures in recent years against BDS, a Palestinian-led campaign that says it seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it abides by international law.
Leftists Target Their Own: Leftist Jewish Cafe Owner In SF Told To Get Out For Supporting Israel
You can be gay, intern in the Obama White House, work on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, and serve as the Silicon Valley fundraising director for the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, but if you also happen to be Jewish and support the existence of Israel, hard leftists want you gone, as 29-year-old Manny Yekutiel found out the hard way when he opened a café/bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District

Yekutiel was catalyzed to open his café/bookstore, which also hosts leftist political events, after the 2016 election. He said it took two years to create it, asserting, “Over 1,000 people were involved in the building of this space.” Among the people he has hosted have been incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and activists with Black Lives Matter, according to The Forward. According to Eater, donors gave over $75,000 to the project on Kickstarter. Yekutiel pointed out that the idea of a café with political events was not new, saying, “For centuries there have been certain cafes, bars, and restaurants that have doubled as spaces for civic engagement, social justice, and activism, places to consume, react, and create the news.”

But on Wednesday, protesters associated with the Lucy Parsons Project, a self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” joined other groups to yell Yekutiel was a “Zionist gentrifer,” and “Zionists out of the Mission!” The Lucy Parsons Project even tweeted their instructions to do so:

The Forward reports that the group “has protested at Manny’s every Wednesday this month, and says it will continue protesting every Wednesday until Manny’s is ‘shut down.’ The Project only has about 300 Twitter followers, but among the protest’s supporters is a local rapper, Equipto, with 14,500 followers.”
Plot Against Toledo Synagogues Is the 105th Islamist Terror Plot or Attack
In early December, an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Ohio arrested 21-year-old Damon Joseph for planning an attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio. Joseph was inspired by ISIS, making this the 105th Islamist terror plot or attack since 9/11 against the U.S. homeland.

Law enforcement first located Joseph on social media where he made posts of weapons and in support of ISIS.

Undercover agents contacted Joseph and he sent them ISIS propaganda and recruitment literature. He expressed support for violent “martyrdom operations” in the U.S. and following the attack on the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue in October.

Joseph expressed interest in carrying out a similar attack.

He then spent the next month deliberating over whether or not to conduct such an attack but ultimately decided that it was time for him to move from “virtual jihad” to “physical jihad.”

By the end of November, Joseph was plotting the specifics of his act of terror, still interested in attacking a synagogue with firearms.
North Carolina synagogue vandalized, culprit arrested
Lisa Marie Burns, a North Carolina citizen, was arrested by the local police and has admitted to vandalizing the Cary Sha'arei Shalom Synagogue on Friday.

Burns, 57 years old, threw bricks at the Sha'arei Shalom synagogue in Cary, North Carolina, as well as painted "FU" on the door and vandalized vehicles.

Burns was arrested by the police on Saturday, as she confessed to committing the crimes, and was bailed out.

“We’re not going to respond by being afraid. We’re not going to respond with despair. We’re not even going to respond with bitterness,” Messianic Rabbi Seth Klayman, leader of the congregation, said. “The ultimate goal would be to see a transformed heart.”

The Sha'arei Shalom congregation has been subjected to antisemitic actions in the past, as a man delivered antisemitic threats through the intercom, merely a few hours after a Saturday memorial for the Pittsburgh massacre victims.
Belgian Jewish family says assailant shot gun at bedroom
A Jewish family that has received multiple threats in their home in Belgium reported that someone fired a bullet at their bedroom.

The incident happened last month in Marchienne-au-Pont south of Brussels to Eitan and Nicole, who asked their last name be withheld from reports about their case in the media, La Nouvelle Gazette daily reported.

The incident happened at 3 a.m. A car passed their home, backed up and the shot was fired from inside the car into the house, Eitan said.

“I head a bang, looked out the window and saw a black Citroen car with a male driver,” he told the daily. The car had no license plates. The following morning, Eitan found a bullet casing where the car had stopped.

The previous month, Nicole told SudPresse that a man pointed a gun at her on the street on broad daylight.
1 in 5 non-Christians in France has never heard of the Holocaust, survey finds
More than 20 percent of non-Christians in France have never heard of the Holocaust, a new survey found.

The survey — of 1,014 Christian and non-Christian adults, as well as those who said they were without religion — was conducted this month for the American Jewish Committee and two other groups by the Ifop research group.

Ignorance about the Holocaust and revisionism appeared strongest among far-right and far-left voters, and people who said they follow a faith that is not Christianity. Islam is France’s second-largest religion, with 8.8 percent of the population according to a 2017 Pew study. Judaism is third with 0.8 percent.

Among non-Christians, 21 percent said they had never heard of the Holocaust, compared to only 10 percent of all respondents. Overall, 21 percent of all respondents didn’t know when the Holocaust happened. Among non-Christians, the figure was 34 percent.

Among respondents who said they are religious but not Christians, 11 percent said the figure of 6 million Holocaust victims was “exaggerated” and a further 4 percent said the Holocaust was “invented.”

Just over a quarter of non-Christian respondents said the Holocaust was merely “another tragedy among many others in a war with many victims.” Overall, only 3 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement.
London mosque to honor Muslims who rescued Jews in the Holocaust
A mosque that opened recently amid protests in a heavily Jewish part of London announced plans to host an exhibition celebrating Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Golders Green Mosque is set to feature the exhibition prepared by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel at the beginning of the new year, The Jewish News of London reported Thursday.

The exhibition is about Muslim Albanians who hid and protected Jews during the Holocaust, when Albania was under fascist control.

Rabbi Natan Levy, head of operations for the interfaith group Faith Forums for London, is helping the mosque organize the event.

“The exhibition is a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community’s darkest hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand idly by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate their Jewish neighbors,” Levy told The Jewish News.

Some Jewish opponents to the mosque’s opening in 2017 cited traffic concerns, while others said they feared it would introduce security problems, drawing accusations of xenophobia by other Jews.

Albanians rescued about 2,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
The story behind Frank Sinatra’s $10,000 yarmulke
When a huge auction was held at Sotheby’s earlier this month of items belonging to Frank Sinatra and his wife Barbara, the item that made the most headlines was one of the smallest: a hand-knit yarmulke, owned by Frank, which was purchased for nearly $10,000 by an unknown party.

But untold, until now, was the story why Sinatra had a kippah, where and when he got it, and the memorable night nearly 40 years ago when multiple members of the Rat Pack were among the unlikely guests of honor at a fundraising dinner for a Jewish day school on the Jersey Shore.

The kippah was presented to Sinatra on an evening in May or June of 1981, at the old Teplitzky’s Hotel in Atlantic City. The occasion was the annual awards dinner held by the Hebrew Academy of Atlantic County, then located in Margate, N.J. And the man presenting the kippah to a tuxedo-clad Ol’ Blue Eyes was Samuel “Sonny” Schwartz, a longtime journalist, columnist, radio host and man-about-town in the Atlantic City area.

A photo of the occasion was shared with us by the late Schwartz’s daughter, Pauline, who said that a framed version of the photo hangs in her mother’s home to this day.

Each year at its gala, the Hebrew Academy would honor a Man of the Year. The Academy “would choose one person in the community who had made an impact on the community, and through this person’s connections we would be able to raise funds for the school,” remembers Rabbi Mordechai Weiss, the longtime principal of the Hebrew Academy. Sonny Schwartz was the honoree in 1980, which his daughter said was “a super-big deal for our family.” She remembers saying the Hamotzi blessing at that dinner along with the evening’s emcee, the Jewish comedian and Rat Pack fixture Joey Bishop.
Tzvika Levy, advocate for Israel's lone soldiers, passes away at 70
Tzvika Levy, a leading advocate for Israel’s lone soldiers, passed away at the age of 70 on Saturday. Levy was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2016.

Levy, known as “the father of lone soldiers,” received the Israel Prize for Life Achievement in 2017 for his work on behalf of lone soldiers and the families of IDF soldiers lost in combat.

“Tzvika Levy: a warrior, a friend and a father,” said former IDF chief of staff and leader of the new Israel Resilience Party Benny Gantz said. “Tzvika was called ‘father’ by his biological children as well as by lone soldiers for being so caring and loving. Even in his last days, he never stopped fighting his disease and continued being a father and a friend. I treasure years of pleasant memories and appreciation for Tzvika. I too loved him, as everyone did.”

“Tzvika passed away and the pain is immense,” said chairman of the Knesset’s Lobby for Lone Soldiers Itzik Shmuli wrote. “He made giving his life’s work, and thousands of lone soldiers found a home in the IDF and Israel thanks to him. I saw how stubbornly he fought to help the soldiers, even from his deathbed. You will be greatly missed.”

“A man who loved and supported our soldiers,” MK Amir Peretz said. “This morning thousands of soldiers became fatherless.”

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