Friday, September 13, 2019

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Why Israelis have never forgotten their 9/11
On the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, government officials and institutions throughout America commemorated the horror of that day. But after all these years, there is a sense that – other than for those who lost family members or close friends – the ceremonies are increasingly becoming more a matter of going through the motions than of national grief.

Much like the way the memory of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 – a comparable tragedy that altered the life of the nation – because routine and then ultimately a footnote as the decades passed, 9/11 is becoming a moment frozen in the past and not a reminder of the dangerous world in which we still live.

That this is true is probably as much a product of human nature as it is of the failure of our leaders in the post-9/11 world. But it’s worth pointing out that this same process hasn’t been repeated in Israel as time has passed since the end of the Second Intifada that brought similar widespread horror to its victims. As a prescient op-ed published in The New York Times by Matti Friedman noted, the memory of the slaughter hangs over Israeli society and is still a decisive factor in its politics.

There are profound differences between 9/11 and the intifada. September 11, 2001 was one day that thankfully was never repeated again on American soil (a point that seemed to earn President George W. Bush no credit with the public even though most of us assumed that it would be). By contrast, what happened to Israelis was several years of a terrorist war of attrition involving hundreds of attacks, including suicide bombings that struck throughout the country rather than being concentrated in just a couple of places.
Brooke Goldstein: Sanders, Warren, O’Rourke among Dems showing hostility to Israel
Throughout history, rising anti-Semitism has always been accompanied by other forms of radicalization and the degradation of democracy overall.

Will Democrats continue to creep closer to radical anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic policy positions? Will they undermine the party’s traditional values of tolerance and equality? If so, they risk consigning themselves to the tragic fate of Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labour Party, which has allowed a culture of anti-Semitism to take root and poison the entire institution.

In an all-too-familiar routine, far too many Democrats pander to the Jewish community on pro-Israel issues when running for office and then turn around and show their true colors after Election Day.

To date, the candidates running for president have skated by – banking on the fact that no one is asking them about a subject they’d rather ignore.

It’s time for the media to ask these questions and get real answers. Voters like me will be watching closely.

We grew up from childhood hating, cursing Jews
We were taught in the Arab world that the Holocaust was just a big lie. It was only when we grew up and opened ourselves to the world of ideas and humanity that we discovered Jews are in fact human beings, and good people, too.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Ensaf Haidar. I am the wife of Raif Badawi, a prisoner of conscience who is now serving his seventh year behind dark, cold prison walls in Saudi Arabia.

Two days after the horrific Charlie Hebdo massacre, my husband was dragged from his jail cell in Jeddah, brought to a square in front of Al-Jafali Mosque, and administered the first phase – 50 lashes – of a public flogging.

His crime? His indictment says he was guilty of “insulting Islam” and “producing what would disturb public order, religious values and morals.”

His real crime, in fact, can be summarized in one sentence: He believed in his fundamental right to express his opinion.

Freedom of expression is at the heart of Raif’s case.

Also central to his case is Raif’s vision of a different future for his country and region; a future based on our shared humanity; one based on acceptance, respect and mutual understanding; one that aspires for peace in the region.

A British Lord Returns to His Humble Jewish Roots, and Praises Jewish Solidarity
In a serialized memoir, the British political theorist and member of the House of Lords Maurice Glasman recalls his Jewish education, the Sabbaths and Passovers of his youth, his extended family of East European immigrants, and his recent visit to the remote Ukrainian shtetl of Vinkivtsy, where his grandfather (“my Zaida”) was born—among much else. He sums up the values of his upbringing thus:

I was brought up to love Yiddishkayt [Jewishness]. I was brought up to love all those who have ever spoken Yiddish and their descendants. All of them. It’s true that I have mixed feelings about Litvaks but I try to put them to one side. The thing I love most is being a yid, with everything that means. All yidn. Always.

In just my Mum’s family we still have Communists, Zionists, ?asidim and Misnagdim [the religious opponents of ?asidism]; we have assimilationists, Bundists, capitalists and socialists, monarchists and anarchists. I love them all and I can’t deny that my head is a cacophony of ancestral argument and I can be any one of those things in the course of a single day.

My ability to hold, with great conviction and sincerity, several entirely contradictory opinions at the same time explains my calling as a politician. It comes very naturally to me.

During his journey to Ukraine, Glasman notes that “my Zaida left . . . as a pauper but I was returning as a Lord. I couldn’t have done it without him.” He concludes by imagining himself buried in the Jewish cemetery in Vinkivtsy, with the name of his favorite soccer team engraved in large letters on his tombstone:
British World War I Hero to Be Commemorated in Israel
The memory of a British war hero is being commemorated at a museum close to where he was killed in action during the First World War. Captain John Fox-Russell, from Holyhead , was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Tel el Khuweilfe, north of Beersheba in the Judean Hills, in November 1917. His body is one of 1,200 servicemen buried in the Commonwealth military cemetery in Beersheba.

Fox-Russell's great-niece, Victoria Fox, said: "Avi Navon has spent much of his life researching and telling the stories of the battles of World War I in Palestine. He lives in a kibbutz adjacent to Tel Khuweilfe where the huge battle took place....His plan [is] to raise a plaque telling the story of the battle and of Captain John Fox-Russell....It is a very important part of the history of Israel because if these battles had not been won, it would probably still be under Turkish rule and who knows where the Jewish people would be."

Fox-Russell was a medical officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During the battle Fox-Russell repeatedly went out to attend the wounded under murderous fire from snipers and machine guns, and, "in many cases where no other means were at hand, carried them in himself, although almost exhausted."
Omar, Tlaib, and Israel’s Nonexistent Anti-Propaganda Agency
The specific question of what went wrong with the blocking of the visit to Israel of antisemitic Congresswomen Omar Ilhan and Rashida Tlaib is a minor issue within a much larger framework. This event was not an incidental mishap. It is part of a broader structural failure in the functioning of Israel’s government.

No other democratic country in the world is verbally attacked as frequently as is Israel. This includes vile verbal aggression by democratic governments and by mainstream politicians from those countries.

Nations under attack create defense organizations. Against enemy armies, Israel set up the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It invested heavily in all aspects of the armed services. The IDF is now one of the best armies in the world. So are Israel’s three intelligence services: the international security agency (Mossad), the domestic security agency (Shabak), and the military intelligence branch (Aman). Cyberattacks on Israel have led the government to invest in an expensive cyber defense program that is likely to make the country a world leader in the field.

Yet Israel’s defense against extreme propaganda assaults, which have been going on for decades, remains amateurish. The only successful response to such aggression is: “You hit me and I’ll hit you back harder.”
British TV Star Discusses Online Abuse After Criticizing Antisemitism in UK Labour Party
A British television star has been subjected to “disgusting bullying” online due to her criticism of antisemitism in the UK Labour Party.

Tracy Ann Oberman starred in the long-running TV show “EastEnders,” and has been outspoken on Twitter against Jew-hatred.

In particular, she went after a BBC commentator who praised a woman who desecrated a wall of the Warsaw Ghetto by painting on it, “Free Gaza and Palestine.”

The Daily Mail quoted Oberman as saying, “The abuse was incredible. I had never had a single negative comment on Twitter. The abuse was prolific.”

“To be told ‘your family didn’t really die in the Holocaust, you made it up’ — disgusting,” she said.

Along with television host Rachel Riley, who is also outspoken on Labour antisemitism, Oberman said she got little support in the face of the online abuse.

“When you find something you’re truly passionate in and want to speak out on, often men will try and silence us and intimidate us,” she stated.

“That’s the problem, when organizations don’t police their own people and their own employees,” she added. “Myself and Rachel Riley did really look for someone to slap the wrist of somebody, but it didn’t happen.”
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson says it’s “impossible” for her to work with Corbyn “in any sort of arrangement” due to antisemitism
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has assured her party’s newest MP that it would be “impossible” for her to work with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, “in any sort of arrangement.”

Jo Swinson reportedly made the pledge to Luciana Berger, saying she “would not enter any coalition with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister” or support any government led by him in any way, in part due to Mr Corbyn’s failure to address antisemitism in his party.

Ms Berger left the Labour Party earlier this year over antisemitism, and citing her refusal to be complicit in a Labour election victory that might put Mr Corbyn in Downing Street. She has now joined the Liberal Democrats.

The assurance from Ms Swinson echoes her earlier pledge during her party leadership campaign not to prop up a Corbyn-led government, in part due to his handling of antisemitism within the Labour Party. Delivering her promise to Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, Ms Swinson explained that, in addition to their disagreement on political questions, “Corbyn[’s]…inability, at best, to act on antisemitism within his party would make it impossible for me to work with him on a personal level in any sort of arrangement.”
California Enacts ‘Mezuzah Bill’ Following Widespread Support Among Lawmakers
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that protects the right of Jewish residents to place a mezuzah on their doorposts, including dormitory rooms and apartments.

Senate Bill 652, known as the “Mezuzah Bill,” mandates that property owners “shall not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant or any other restriction that prohibits one or more religious items from being displayed or affixed on any entry door or entry door frame of a dwelling.”

A mezuzah is a parchment scroll with Torah verses handwritten on it by an expert scribe placed on the doorpost of a Jewish person’s home and often on interior rooms of the home.

The bill was authored by Legislative Jewish Caucus chair Sen. Ben Allen. Each member of the caucus, which is comprised of seven state senators and nine assembly members, signed on as co-authors. The bill passed four committee hearings, and floor votes in the Senate and the Assembly, with sweeping support.
A French medical student said she faced intense anti-Semitic bullying. Authorities have dropped the case.
When a French-Jewish medical student revealed last year that some of her classmates were harassing her with Holocaust jokes and Nazi salutes, the story made headlines.

The affair prompted French Education Minister Frederique Vidal to say that the alleged harassment of the student known as Rose was “profoundly unacceptable.”

On the campus of the prestigious Paris 13 University, authorities took Rose’s complaints seriously. She also took them to police, Rose said in an interview published Tuesday in Le Point.

Yet a year later, Rose told the magazine, she has transferred, on faculty’s advice, to a different university and her complaint alleging hate speech and racist harassment was closed by prosecutors for what they said is lack of evidence.

The case of Rose, a 21-year-old who grew up in the impoverished suburb of Bobigny, grabbed the country’s attention not because campus anti-Semitism is rare in France, but because she described incidents shocking in their crassness at one of the republic’s most prestigious universities.

Rose described a class Facebook page in which students listed and ranked Jewish classmates according to their level of affiliation as part of a string of jokes online and on campus featuring anti-Semitic hate speech.

Jury considers nixing German literature prize for author backing Israel boycott
The jury for the Nelly Sachs literature prize in the city of Dortmund is reconsidering its decision to honor an author who supports the anti-Israel boycott movement.

An announcement is expected soon regarding the planned honor for British author Kamila Shamsie, Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

The prize, named for the Jewish Nobel Prize-winning German-born poet and playwright Nelly Sachs (1891-1970), recognizes authors who champion “tolerance, respect and reconciliation.” The 15,000-euro prize, or about $16,500, is presented every two years.

Shamsie, born in Pakistan, was slated to receive the prize for work that “builds bridges between societies.”

But Shamsie supports the anti-Israel BDS movement, which the German Bundestag declared in a resolution last spring to be anti-Semitic. Several German cities had already passed laws barring any official support for the movement.

Shamsie has refused to have her works published in Israel, and reiterated her support for the boycott movement on Wednesday.

US State Department Announces Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues
The US State Department announced on Thursday that Cherrie Daniels has been tapped to be its Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues.

Founded in 1999, the Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues “develops and implements US policy to return Holocaust-era assets to their rightful owners, secure compensation for Nazi-era wrongs, and ensure that the Holocaust is remembered and commemorated appropriately,” according to the State Department website.

The special envoy will also work on State’s efforts to combat antisemitism, said department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

“Her assignment underscores the secretary’s commitment to the importance of resolving outstanding issues of the past,” said Ortagus.

The Trump administration has made Holocaust reparations a priority, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue with the Polish government in February. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded that the issue has been “resolved.”

A bipartisan group of 88 US senators signed a letter to Pompeo in August, asking him to “act boldly and with urgency to help Poland resolve this issue comprehensively.” The senators stated they were “deeply troubled” with Morawiecki’s reply.

Poland is the only affected nation that doesn’t have legislation dealing with confiscated restitution from the last century.
PewDiePie rescinds $50,000 donation to ADL after fans object
The popular video blogger PewDiePie announced a donation of $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League, then rescinded it a day later after fan feedback.

PewDiePie, whose name is Felix Kjellberg of Sweden, made the announcement of the donation on Wednesday during an online celebration of surpassing 100 million subscribers, saying he wanted to get past previous “controversies.”

“I made a lot of mistakes on the way but I’ve grown. I feel like I have at least, and I feel like I’ve finally come in terms with the responsibilities I have as a creator. 100 million subs too late,” he said during the announcement, “but, you know.”

Among the mistakes were those that occurred in February 2017, when Disney and YouTube distanced themselves from PewDiePie after he broadcast a video of two South Asian men dressed in green loincloths holding a sign reading “Death To All Jews.” The video was viewed more than 6 million times before it was removed by Google, which owns YouTube. In addition, the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, said “Subscribe to PewDiePie” before carrying out his attack last spring.

Included in the comments from his followers panning the donation were suggestions that he was blackmailed by the ADL in order to be in good standing again on YouTube and in the media, implying that Jews control the media. They also objected to him giving money to an organization that has criticized him.
Cops arrest man who bashed Crown Heights rabbi with giant rock
Police have collared a 26-year-old man in connection with an assault of a rabbi in a Crown Heights park, cops said Thursday.

Oneil Gilbourne allegedly smacked the 64-year-old in the face with a paving stone, knocking out his teeth, while the rabbi was on his morning stroll through Lincoln Terrace Park on Aug. 27, according to police.

Gilbourne was charged with assault as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.

The encounter started just after 7:40 p.m. when Rabbi Avraham Gopin, father-in-law of popular Hasidic singer Benny Friedman, said Gilbourne hurled a rock in his direction, cops said.

When Gopin, who was wearing a yarmulke, confronted the random man, the man punched him in the face, according to police.
Florida man arrested for threatening to shoot Jews
A Florida man who threatened to shoot up a local synagogue and has said publicly that he hates Jews was apprehended on Friday by the FBI.

Hanson Larkin, 25, was in an Orlando federal court the same day, charged with making threats through interstate communication to, according to police, a Jewish man that included: “If meeting me for five seconds is not worth the lives of multiple Jews then I have no other option” and “There’s a Chabad near me. And Amtrak has no security for weapons. Don’t make me make a choice they’ll regret.”

A Jewish man, Lizardo Rivas, 44, allegedly rejected romantic advances from Larkin and notified authorities of the threats.

Rivas said he has communicated with Larkin for two years, and that the suspect has expressed bigotry toward Jews and had suicidal thoughts.

Larkin appeared in court again on Tuesday and was denied bail. He could face up to five years behind bars if convicted.

Also on Friday, a 45-year-old man in Daytona Beach, Fla., was charged with making threats, including against Jews.
Landmark at University of Tennessee-Knoxville Vandalized With Antisemitic Graffiti
A landmark at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti on Wednesday night.

According to Knox News, the words, “Jews did 9-11,” and, “Google: Dancing Israelis,” were found scrawled on “The Rock” — a large stone on the university campus that has become an informal designated area for graffiti and often political messages.

The graffiti refers to the conspiracy theory that Jews and/or Israel were the real culprits behind the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda terrorist attacks. “Dancing Israelis” refers to a connected conspiracy theory that claims a group of Israelis were caught celebrating the attack.

University Chancellor Donde Plowman condemned the graffiti, saying, “Last night, someone covered that message of love with an antisemitic hate message. We condemn that hate aimed toward members of our Jewish community, and we understand that words are not enough.”

“We want to work together to create a movement around what we want to be,” the chancellor added. “I will start by meeting with members of our Jewish student community this morning. We will expand the conversation to all [students] so we can work together on an action plan and will share more in the coming days.”
Swastikas among hateful graffiti painted on San Francisco-area high school
Graffiti including swastikas was painted on the walls of a San Francisco-area high school.

Days after the incident, hundreds of students came to Burlingame High School wearing red T-shirts or hoodies in red, a school color, to display “unity against hate.” They placed their painted handprints on banners reading “We are stronger than hate” and “Panther strong.”

The principal, Paul Belzer, described the graffiti painted in 10 different places as “anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist.” He said an investigation by the Burlingame Police Department and the San Mateo Union High School District is underway. No suspects have been identified.

“I am outraged,” Belzer wrote in an email to parents, J. The Jewish News of Northern California reported. “I feel our students and school, and our school’s values of integrity and community have been attacked.”
After Israeli students badly beaten, Warsaw police arrests two men
Warsaw police arrested on Wednesday two Dutch citizens and are looking for a Palestinian man in relation to a Monday assault on Israeli students that took place in the Polish capital, JTA reported.

The assaults gained public attention in Israel thanks to a social media post the brother of one of the students who was assaulted posted online with the picture of his bleeding brother. The user claimed that the Poles who witnessed the attack did nothing and blamed the Israeli diplomatic mission of not caring enough about the case.

The two brothers, Barak and Yotam Kashpizky, are twins with Yotam being attacked and Barak writing about it online.

Yotam suffers from a broken nose and a broken eye socket, Barak says.

One of the assailants punched Yotam in the face and he lost consciousness. He believes the assailant used a knuckle-duster, given the serious injuries he sustained and the fact that he was knocked unconscious.

The students were leaving a nightclub when the attackers asked them if they are from Israel, when they replied yes the beating began with the attackers screaming ‘f**k Israel’ and ‘Free Gaza.’

The Jewish community of Warsaw expressed sorrow over the incident in an online post as it took place very close to the Nozyk synagogue, which has security.
Polish judge called Jews a ‘despicable, filthy nation’ in online forum
A judge in Poland called Jews a “despicable, filthy nation” in an online forum in 2015.

Jarosław Dudzicz was promoted in 2017 to president of the court in Gorzów Wielkopolski by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro. But while serving as a member of the National Council of the Judiciary, he wrote in an online newspaper forum that Jews are “A despicable filthy nation, they do not deserve anything.”

The comment was first reported Thursday by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

According to the report, the comment was written by a user with the handle “jorry123” in response to an article about the World Jewish Congress. A resident of Wrocław reported the comment to the prosecutor’s office, which determined that its author was Dudzicz, then a district court judge.

The judge admitted to posting the comment in the online forum. However, he was not charged because as a judge he has immunity.

Under Polish law, a person can be jailed for up to three years for publicly insulting a group of people because of their national, ethnic, racial or religious affiliation.
Vandals spray swastikas on British war graves in Netherlands
Vandals spray-painted swastikas and slogans about the crash of flight MH17 on a British cemetery for World War II soldiers in the Netherlands, police said Friday.

The desecration of the cemetery at Mierlo, near the southern city of Eindhoven, comes as the Netherlands marks the 75th anniversary of the start of its allied liberation from the Nazis.

"We take the matter very seriously and have started an extensive investigation," police said, adding that they were probing possible further incidents of vandalism in the town.

A large swastika was daubed on a chapel at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery, while letters were painted on several of the 664 graves at the cemetery, and a large stone cross was also defaced.

The vandals also wrote "MH17 Lie" on an outer wall of the cemetery.

The Netherlands was the country that lost the most people in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014 over part of eastern Ukraine that was held by pro-Russian separatists.

Diary of 'Polish Anne Frank' sees light 80 years later
The diary of Renia Spiegel, a teenage Jewish girl known now as the "Polish Anne Frank," is being released for publication for the first time since she began writing it 80 years ago.

Spiegel lived in Nazi-occupied Poland in a town called Przemysl, where she saw the country break into war and was eventually shot to death by German troops in 1942. The diary begins when she is 15 years old and describes air raids, going into hiding, Jewish families' disappearances, and more.

The publication, titled Renia's Diary: A Young Girl's Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust, is coming out in the United States on September 17.

The hand-written diary, which ran 700 pages long, survived the war thanks in part to Spiegel's first love, Zygmunt Schwarzer, according to the Polish publication The First News. Schwarzer kept the diary safe after Spiegel's death, even adding one final entry himself. He kept it throughout his incarceration in Auschwitz, and managed to retrieve it after the war.

Schwarzer tracked down Spiegel's mother and sister in the United States where they had relocated after the war and gave them the diary in 1950.

Elizabeth, Renia's sister, told the BBC that their mother was too overwhelmed emotionally to read the diary and instead she kept it in a vault.
How I found my Bubby in ‘The Auschwitz Album’
Surrounded by children and older women, an adolescent girl tilts her head and grins. Unlike most Jews in the “transport,” she does not have a Jewish star affixed to her clothes. Her name is Bella — Baila in Yiddish — and she seems to be showing off the new Passover dress made by her aunts.

It was a clear day in late May of 1944 when 16-year old Bella Solomon — my grandmother — stood for “selection” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Those thick chimneys are for bakeries, the new arrivals were told. Families will be reunited after disinfection, and make sure your luggage is marked.

The photograph of my grandmother appears strangely sanitized. There is no sense of the hell-upon-arrival described by Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi. It’s daytime, so no floodlights are pointed at victims emerging from boxcars under the whip. No dogs are trained on the victims.

The image of my grandmother is one of 197 photographs in the so-called “Auschwitz Album,” one of the most important but poorly understood primary sources of the Holocaust. Although I’ve known about the album for at least 20 years, I did not consider searching within its pages for my grandmother until 2015.

For reasons unclear to historians, an SS photographer (either Ernst Hoffman or Bernhard Walter) documented the 11-step “processing” of Hungarian Jews during several days that spring. The camp had just been modified to handle a record influx of 424,000 Hungarian Jews, most of whom were murdered upon arrival. Innovations included extending the train-tracks into the camp itself to hasten the process.
Howard Jacobson on his book, UK antisemitism and being Jewish Jane Austen
Howard Jacobson is a funny writer. He has penned several comedic novels, and many commentators said his 2010 Man Booker prize-winning work “The Finkler Question” was the first humorous book to win the prestigious award for decades.

But Jacobson, one of the most celebrated authors in the United Kingdom and an outspoken liberal Zionist, has trouble finding much humor in the current state of a world dominated by politics and social media.

“People don’t get irony,” Jacobson, 77, said in a wide-ranging conversation with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Because of the internet and Trump and Brexit and all that, we’re living in very non-ironical times. The mode of discourse of the moment is you say something, and I say something back, and you say something back, and we are separate, and we brutally contradict one another.”

Nevertheless, conversation is a central part of his latest novel, “Live a Little,” which was published this week. In this case, it’s conversation between Shimi and Beryl (at times called “the Princess”), two 90-year-olds who (sort of) fall in love. Shimi remembers everything, while Beryl is losing her memory.

Jacobson spoke about the novel, on the anxiety of being a British Jew in 2019, his self-definition as the “Jewish Jane Austen” and much more.

JTA: What brought you to this story of these elderly folks who develop a surprising friendship, maybe romance?

Jacobson: It’s quite mysterious, really. I always do find where a book comes from mysterious. You can trace some of these things, and some you can’t.
Netta reported to have role in Will Ferrell’s Netflix film ‘Eurovision’
Israeli singer Netta Barzilai is rumored to have a role in the Will Ferrell-Rachel McAdams Netflix film “Eurovision.”

Barzilai was the international song contest’s winner in 2018, allowing Israel to host the event this year.

Ferrell and McAdams were seen on the sidelines of Eurovision in May in Tel Aviv and reportedly shot some scenes there.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that “it appears” that Barzilai will participate in the film. When asked, Barzilai said that she is “prevented” from addressing the topic, but that she is “always excited about new adventures.”

Ferrell reportedly is a fan of Eurovision after being introduced to the competition by his Swedish-born wife.

In a July 2018 interview, just weeks after winning Eurovision and when rumors first began to swirl that Ferrell would do a satirical film about the contest, Barzilai said in an interview that she hoped Ferrell “would treat Eurovision with the respect it deserves.”
Israeli Paralympic Swimmer Breaks World Record in Competition Originally Banned to Israelis
An Israeli Paralympic swimmer set a new world record on Tuesday at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, held in London after Malaysia was stripped of the event for refusing to let Israelis compete, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

Mark Malyar, 19, claimed a gold medal in the men’s 400m freestyle S7. The athlete, who has cerebral palsy, clocked in at 4:33.64 and was said to have “obliterated” the previous record, of 4:42.81, set in the 2012 Paralympics by gold medalist Josef Craig.

Malyar’s win in the swimming final qualifies the gold medalist to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The 2019 World Para Swimming Championships were originally set to begin in late July in Malaysia but were rescheduled after the country, which changed governments since being awarded the competition, announced it would not allow Israeli athletes to participate.

The International Paralympics Committee stripped Malaysia of its right to host the event, with IPC President Andrew Parsons saying, “When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new championships host.”
Seal of First Temple-era royal steward found in Jerusalem
A 2,600-year old bulla (seal) bearing a Hebrew name was uncovered recently in earth excavated in 2013 from beneath Robinson’s Arch at the foundations of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. The seal bears not only a name but also a role – the most prominent in the courts of the kings of Judah and Israel.

The seal, which was used to sign documents, bears the Hebrew name and title “Adoniyahu asher al habayit,” which literally translates as “Adoniyahu, who is over the house.”

The term, which means “royal steward,” is used throughout the Bible to describe the most senior official serving under a king of Judea or Israel.

According to archaeologist Eli Shukron, who conducted the initial excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority just north of the City of David at the foundation stones of the Western Wall, “This is the first time this kind of archaeological discovery has been made in Jerusalem. The biblical title ‘asher al habayit’ was the highest-ranking ministerial position beneath the king during the reigns of the kings of Judea and Israel.”

As small as it is, the seal is of tremendous significance, said Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation, which operates the site where the seal was discovered as well as the Archaeological Experience, where it was uncovered.

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