Tuesday, December 24, 2019

From Ian:

The Lesson Of Chanukah Is Deeply Relevant In 2019. Here’s Why
There have been three murderous anti-Semitic shootings in America in barely over the past year, and anti-Semitism around the liberalized world is increasingly on the rise like nothing we have seen in decades. Anti-Semitic incidents on the American university campus have risen tremendously. One of America’s two major political parties now has prominent elected officials who traffick not merely in rote “anti-Zionism,” but in the type of outright conspiratorial Jew-hatred that has been the bane of our people for millennia. The man who was on the precipice of becoming prime minister of the erstwhile leader of the free world is an unapologetic, Jew-hating bigot whose would-be reign was passionately warned against by his nation’s own chief rabbi. At this point, mass vandalism of Jewish cemeteries dotting the European landscape barely raises any media attention at all.

Against this backdrop, there are two options for American Jews: (1) Be a Maccabee and defiantly tell the world that, against all the odds, we are still here and that our nationhood will never be extinguished; or (2) be a Hellenized Jew and a fifth column that forsakes the uniqueness of Jewish identity at the sacrificial altar of pseudo-“inclusive” progressive secularism.

The lesson of Chanukah — the tale of Judah the Maccabee’s great military triumph — provides a resounding answer to that question. Against any would-be foe, both “foreign” and “domestic,” always remain proud of both the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel. As the light of the menorah provides a light unto the neighborhood, so must you help us all provide a “light unto the nations.” But that light can only shine if we remain proud Jews and Zionists.

Abraham Lincoln, a biblically intimate statesman who viewed Americans as an “almost chosen people,” said the following about America during his famous Lyceum Address of 1838: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

The destruction of the Jewish people would similarly never come from “abroad,” but only from within. And such a destruction could only transpire if the Maccabees relent to the tyranny of the Hellenizers.

Always be a Maccabee.

Happy Chanukah to all.

Yisrael Medad: Sanders in our eyes
Of Bernie Sanders, it has been said that he is "the most popular Jew in Gaza since Moses."

One reason is probably his thinking on the two-state solution of which he believes that "Israel and the Palestinians can, and should, peacefully coexist, and that the Palestinians should have a country of their own." That "solution" must include:

"Compromises from both sides to achieve a fair and lasting peace in the region. The Palestinians must fulfill their responsibilities to end terrorism against Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist. In return, the Israelis must end their policy of targeted killings, prevent further Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes, businesses and infrastructure."

Of course, right there, he falls into the trap that "solution" promotes: "compromises."

The Arabs-termed-Palestinians were offered a state in 1937 and 1947, but refused because in accepting that offer – once by British and once by the United Nations – the Jewish people would also gain a state, and that could not be tolerated.

They lost a chance for statehood when they were occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1948 and annexed in 1950, although to be fair, their national will was expressed on July 20, 1951 when the mufti-inspired assassination of King Abdullah I occurred on the Temple Mount. A start toward a state was the Menachem Begin Autonomy Plan of 1977, though that, too, was rejected.

By the way, Mehdi Hasan has termed that as "cling[ing] to the fantasy of a two-state solution, which has been dead and buried for years."

What, then, is driving presidential candidate Bernie Sanders?
Over 30,000 sign a petition protesting conduct of Sarah Halimi case
Now that a French appeal court has confirmed that the murderer of Sarah Halimi will not stand trial owing to his being under the influence of cannabis, over 30,000 people and counting have signed a petition addressed to the French Minister of Justice.

"Many questions remain unanswered, and this is not acceptable.

When justice is not done, or when it is willfully unjust, we must not do nothing. Justice is everyone's business.

These are our questions to Madame Beloubet, Minister of Justice, among others:
- the time it took the BRA (Counter-terrorism Brigade) to get to the scene (it took nearly four hours for the police to arrive, and the BRA was alerted soon after) but there was no road traffic. Can we have an explanation?
- If the assassin was capable of climbing across two windows on the front of the building, one cannot say that he was "unbalanced"! How do psychiatric experts explain this?
- Why did the police stay in the building for more than forty minutes (26 policemen behind Madame Halimi's door) without trying to intervene?
- Who are the psychiatric experts?
- The author's flagrant anti-Semitism is the root cause of his act. What do you think, Madame Beloubet?
- Are you aware that the Jews of France feel humiliated?

Hen Mazzig: Jesus Was Not a Palestinian, He Was a Mizrahi Jew
Every year, in the days leading up to Christmas, the “Jesus was a Palestinian” talking point surfaces off- and online. Every year, anti-Israel activists hop on this bizarre bandwagon and drive it over historical facts.

Many of the public figures that push this phrase are not Christian; they have no stake in Jesus’s ethnic background. They claim he was a Palestinian because it furthers the erasure of Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel.

The theory originated with former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat in 2006, and has snowballed ever since. Today, some even argue that Jesus was the first Palestinian “martyr.” This year, anti-Israel BDS supporters such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, Omar Suleiman, and Linda Sarsour have advanced this ahistorical narrative. Al Jazeera, The Independent, and even The New York Times have published articles defending this conjecture.

The goal of the argument that “Jesus was a Palestinian from Nazareth” is not only to erase Jewish ties to the land of Israel, but also to depict all Jews as “white,” and in consequence, less sympathetic to intersectional social justice movements.

This April, the Times published an article on the deep importance of Jesus’s skin color, stating that: “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.”

The message is coupled with Palestinian propaganda. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat tweeted a video titled “Merry Palestinian Christmas” with a Palestinian saying, “Jesus was one of us. He didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes; he wasn’t from Kentucky. He looked like DJ Khaled, minus 200 pounds. Mary too was a Palestinian. Mary’s grandmother — a Palestinian. John the Baptist, St. George, the apostles — all Palestinians.”

Countless Jews have dark skin. Claiming that because Jesus was a person of color he must be ethnically Palestinian erases countless Jews in the world today. Mizrahi Jews, the largest ethnic group of Jews in Israel, share the same skin tone, heritage, and birthplace as Jesus. Yet we would never be accepted as Palestinian or identify ourselves as such.
Netanyahu thanks Christians for standing up for Israel in Christmas video
If it hadn’t been for Christian support, Israel would never have been founded, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his Christmas wishes on Tuesday.

“The State of Israel is the culmination of so many prophecies and our deepest-held values,” he said in a video, standing by his wife, Sara. “We share the common civilization, the Judeo-Christian civilization, that has given the world the values of freedom, individual liberty, the sanctity of life and the belief in one God.

“We are proud of our traditions; we are proud of our Christian friends. The State of Israel would not have come into being if it weren’t for the avid support of Christians in the 19th century, in the 20th century as well and in the 21st century.”

Netanyahu further said that Israel has no better friends around the world than its Christian friends.

“So thank you. Thank you all for standing up with Israel: standing up for the truth.”

Israel’s Christian population grows to 177,000 citizens
The Christian population of Israel currently stands at approximately 177,000 citizens, or 2% of the overall population, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) ahead of Christmas.

Last year, the population grew by 1.5%, compared to 2.2% in 2017. Over three-quarters (77.5%) of Christians living in Israel are Arabs, the CBS said, representing 7.2% of all Israeli-Arab citizens. The majority of non-Arab Christians living in Israel are citizens who immigrated to Israel since 1990, together with Jewish family members under the Law of Return.

Some 70.6% of Arab-Christians live in northern Israel today, while 13.3% reside in the coastal city of Haifa and 9.5% live in Jerusalem. The nation’s most populous Christian cities are Nazareth (21,900 inhabitants), Haifa (16,100), Jerusalem (12,700) and the Galilee city of Shfaram (10,300).

A total of 855 Christian couples married in Israel in 2017, according to the report. The average age of marriage for Christian men was 30.1 years old, approximately one-and-a-half years older than Druze men, two-and-a-half years older than Jewish men and three-and-a-half years older than Muslim men.
Christmas in Israel - 165,000 Christian tourists expected
About 165,000 Christian tourists are expected to celebrate Christmas in Israel, a 10% increase compared to last year, which is in line with all incoming tourism numbers for 2019.

Almost 2.5 million of tourists to Israel in the past year – 55% of the total – were Christian, according to the Tourism Ministry.

The most visited sites included the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa and the Mount of Olives. Around Christmas time, Bethlehem and Nazareth are the main touring hot spots.

About 84% of Christian travelers visit Jerusalem on their pilgrimages and 65% visit Tel Aviv, data showed.

“By the end of the year, around 4.5 million tourists are expected to have visited Israel – an all-time record,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said, adding that, “pilgrimage tourism contributed greatly to breaking the record.”
Not-so-merry Christmas for some Bethlehem Christians
Both Fairouz and Mansour said that the situation in Bethlehem was “even better” when Israel was in control of the city after the Six Day War. Some of their Christian and Muslims friends, however, disagreed, claiming that the situation under the PA was better than it was when Israel was in control.

“Frankly, we were much happier when the Jews were here,” Fairouz remarked. “The conditions of Christians have worsened since the arrival of the Palestinian Authority. We are suffering from discrimination, and several Christians have been targeted by Muslims in different ways.”

Fairouz said that for the past two years she has been in court fighting to regain family-owned land that was illegally seized by Muslims. “Each time I ask the judge for permission to speak, he tells me it’s not your turn yet,” Fairouz said. “If I were a Muslim, I would have been treated differently.”

Another Christian woman who identified herself only as Diana said that “discrimination against Christians was not new and has even increased.”
The PA police, said added, have “separate rules” for Muslims and Christians.

“If, for example, there’s a car accident involving a Christian and Muslim, the police always side with the Muslim,” Diana, a school teacher, complained.

Democratic Candidate for House Compares Palestinians to African-Americans Under Jim Crow
A Democrat running in Texas for the US House of Representatives next year has compared the situation of the Palestinians to that of African-Americans under segregation during the 19th and 20th century.

“Palestinians currently live under conditions analogous to Black Americans under Jim Crow—they deserve better,” stated the campaign website of Heidi Sloan, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 25th Congressional District, which is currently served by Republican Rep. Roger Williams.

Sloan calls for ending US assistance to Israel “until the occupation of Palestinian territory is ended.”

The term “occupation” initially applied to Palestinian areas the Israelis oversaw after gaining land (eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and much of the Sinai) in the 1967 Six-Day War—land the Arabs refused to negotiate as part of the Khartoum Conference in 1968, signified by “Three No’s” in reference to Israel: no peace, no recognition, no negotiations.

Ever since then, the word has been used by anti-Israel groups in the attempt to delegitimize Israel.

Yet as with most terminology used in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no clear definition exists, even after the Palestinian Authority has overseen Arab-majority sections (known as Area A under the Oslo Accords) of the West Bank since 1994 and Hamas has run Gaza since 2007 (taking it away from the P.A. after Israelis withdrew in 2005). Egypt negotiated with Israel to get the Sinai back in 1982 as part of direct negotiations with Israel.
We can make a difference and be safe
Jewish Americans are alarmed by the increase of antisemitism in their communities. The fear is felt by many in communities who would have never imagined this level of hatred before. Last week, terrorists associated with the Black Hebrew Israelites targeted a Jewish supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey, leaving five people dead. While on Saturday, a criminal broke into the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills, California, destroying Torah scrolls and vandalizing the property. New York City, home to 1.9 million American Jews, has witnessed a 162% increase in antisemitic incidents on its subway cars and stations. Just last month, witnesses saw “Kill all Jews,” graffiti at the 103rd St. subway stop.

Horrific events, whether vandalization or murder, are on the rise in America. They are on the rise coast to coast, targeting liberal cities. American Jews have seen the rise and fall of antisemitism in Europe, including England, but nobody could have imagined the same level of hatred against Jewish people on American soil.

The hatred isn’t just from the Right or just from the Left; the hatred comes from every direction and place on the political spectrum. There has been a significant rise of neo-Nazi groups in America, but for example, the incident in New Jersey wasn’t linked to neo-Nazism. The issue is more challenging than ever because there isn’t one group against Jewish communities. It would be easy to say the sudden escalation of racist and nativist extremist groups like the so-called “alt-right,” the KKK, and neo-Nazis are the results for the tragedies, but these are not the only perpetrators targeting Jewish communities.

After Charlottesville, we comprehended that the alt-right and white supremacy movements were on the escalation. In 2015, researchers affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), surveyed law enforcement officers across the country, asking whether officers viewed different types of extremists as a “serious terrorist threat.” Their results revealed a belief that the sovereign citizens movement poses a more significant threat than any other groups. Sovereign citizens, Caucasian or African American, carry deep-rooted antisemitic beliefs.

UN Body Reportedly Set to Release ‘Blacklist’ on Israeli Settlement Companies
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is expected to publish the controversial and highly postponed “blacklist” of Israeli business operating in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights next month, Ynet reported on Sunday, citing sources in Jerusalem.

It’s believed that Bachelet was encouraged to publish the list following the announcement by International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday that there’s “reasonable basis” to probe Israel for war crimes against Palestinians.

A number of prominent Israeli and international companies, among them Coca-Cola and Teva, have been threatened to be included on the so-called “blacklist” over their operations in Israeli settlements.

The list was set to be published at the 40th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva in March, but Bachelet postponed the announcement due to heavy pressure reportedly put on her by the United States and Israel.

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution calling for the assembly of a list of Israeli and international companies operating in Israeli settlements. The European Union is also targeting companies that operate in the West Bank after a recent ruling from its courts require all member states to label products made in the settlements, Ynet reported.

Sources told Ynet that the US government, including both Republican and Democratic congressmen, is working to once again postpone the publication of the list by putting pressure on the commissioner and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The Executive Order on Anti-Semitism Is Not Perfect, but It's Still Good for the Jews
Much attention then and today has focused on examples in the definition relating to Israel. There have been situations in Europe where Jews are held responsible and even physically targeted for the perceived misdeeds of Israel. We also have seen examples where someone merely substitutes “Zionist” for “Jew” and thereby claims the most obvious of anti-Semitic statements is a form of acceptable “political” speech. There is general agreement that these are forms of anti-Semitism and should be condemned.

More difficult may be the accusations directed at the State of Israel itself — calling it a racist state, drawing analogies to the Nazis or holding it to unfair double standards. These are largely rhetorical, which lead critics of the working definition and the executive order to claim they will stifle free speech on campus.

They may. Even the most useful tools can be misused, and guarding against it will be imperative.

There is no clearly defined line where all might know that extreme animus toward Israel has become more than criticism and instead is now a form of anti-Semitism. But it happens. Take the example of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose extreme anti-Zionism is understood by the vast majority of British Jews — and many non-Jews — to be only a thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism.

In America, free speech and hate speech are not mutually exclusive. Racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic speech may be protected by the First Amendment, but they have consequences. In particular, and within the narrowly defined contours of Title VI, the presence of hate speech can contribute to a hostile climate or a pattern of discrimination against any protected minority group. It’s not proof in and of itself, but it must be considered. Thus, a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism can be a useful tool in determining if and when an extreme anti-Israel environment on campus undermines the security and well-being of Jewish students.

Of course, there are serious and lethal threats from other sources, as seen in attacks on our nation’s synagogues and in a kosher market. Critics of the president’s executive order have rightly noted that it does nothing to address this problem. But, however flawed the messenger may be, we should be clear-eyed and objective when evaluating the message. While many of us may have preferred congressional legislation to an executive order, the results are the same.
Columbia U accused of anti-Semitism in first test of Trump executive order
A federal complaint has been filed against Columbia University accusing the school of anti-Semitic discrimination.

It is the first case filed since US President Donald Trump’s executive order on combating anti-Semitism, which grants Jewish students the same protections as other minority groups.

The complaint requests a formal investigation by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into alleged anti-Semitic discrimination at Columbia. It was filed by the Lawfare Project on behalf of a Jewish Israeli-American undergraduate who says he has been a victim of anti-Semitic discrimination over the past year.

Jonathan Karten told The Jerusalem Post that he decided to go forward with the complaint after he learned that a well-known professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia had endorsed Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, “with impunity.” Karten’s uncle Sharon Edri was kidnapped and murdered by a Hamas cell in Israel in 1996.

According to the Lawfare Project, Jewish students at Columbia “have endured systematic discrimination from tenured professors and anti-Israel groups,” including Students for Justice for Palestine and Columbia University Apartheid Divest. Columbia students and faculty also host Israel Apartheid Week, which has included bringing virulently anti-Semitic speakers to campus.

Top Guardian pieces in 2019 denying antisemitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party
Before providing examples of Guardian op-eds, cartoons and letters that obfuscated, covered for or excused Jeremy Corbyn’s well documented record of aiding, abetting and, at times, personally engaging in antisemitism, let’s begin with some numbers:
87 – The percentage of British Jews who believe Corbyn is personally antisemitic.
47 – The percentage of British Jews who would have seriously considered leaving the UK if Corbyn became prime minister.
6 – The percentage of Jewish voters who said they would even consider voting for Corbyn.
39 – The percentage of all Britons who believe Corbyn is antisemitic.
1 – The number of British political parties, other than Corbyn’s Labour, that have been investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the public body responsible for the enforcement of non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales – for institutional racism. (That other party was the far-right British National Party)

In July, the Guardian also published a series cartoons by their long-time cartoonist Steve Bell which mocked and belittled charges of antisemitism in the Labour Party, suggesting the accusations were nothing more than a witch-hunt. One of the cartoons in the series (which the Guardian didn’t publish, but was posted on Bell’s own website) evoked a classic antisemitic trope by suggesting that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump were being controlled by Israel’s prime minister.

In November, the Guardian published another letter by British Jews condemning what they claim is “evidence-free” accusations of antisemitism against Corbyn.

A day before the Dec. 12th elections, the Guardian endorsed Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister, describing him as “not perfect”, but “progressive”. Here’s the relevant passage:
Labour seeks to undo the damage begun by Margaret Thatcher 40 years ago and to replace it with a more social democratic Britain. The country would be the better for that. But Mr Corbyn’s factionalism, his lack of a campaign narrative and his repeated overpromising has seen him struggle to persuade enough voters his plan is achievable. Mr Corbyn’s own unpopularity could also scupper Labour in this election. His obdurate handling of the antisemitism crisis has disrupted the message of hope. Anything less than zero tolerance against racism tarnishes Labour’s credentials as an anti-racist organisation. The pain and hurt within the Jewish community, and the damage to Labour, are undeniable and shaming. Yet Labour remains indispensable to progressive politics.

A week after the election, the Guardian published an op-ed which suggested that antisemitism charges against Jeremy Corbyn were untrue, and cynically designed to stifle debate about Israel.

MEMRI: Imam Mohamad Joban Of Redmond, WA: Allah Transformed Jews Into Despicable Apes And Pigs For Disobeying Him
Indonesian-American Imam Mohamad Joban of Masjid Ar-Rahmah in Redmond, WA delivered a lecture focusing on a Quranic story of a town of Jews who were transformed into apes by Allah for having rebelled against Him by setting fishing nets on Friday, before the Sabbath, and collecting the fish on Sunday. He said that this story was never exposed because the Jews cover up bad stories about themselves and always pretend to be pious. Laughing, he told how the Jews who had been transformed into apes cried because they couldn't recognize one another as apes.

Then Imam Joban said that in another verse, the violators were transformed into pigs. He discussed the question whether the transformed Jews had offspring and said that there are two views about this. However, he mentioned two cases, from Egypt and Malaysia, where newborns looked like descendants of apes and pigs. Imam Joban and his congregation chanted from the Quran responsively: "When [the Jews] rebelled against the commands to refrain, [Allah] said to them, 'Be despicable apes'..." Imam Joban is a full-time Imam at Masjid Ar-Rahmah, which belongs to the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS). The lecture was uploaded to the MAPS Redmond YouTube channel on December 17, 2019.

Every year during Ramadhan, MAPS Redmond hosts an Annual Interfaith Iftar event. These events have been attended by high-profile local, state, and federal government officials. These officials have included, but are not limited to, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brad Deardorff, U.S. Rep. Roger Goodman (D-WA), officials from the offices of congressmen Rep. Dave Reichert (R) and Rep. Adam Smith (D), members of the Washington State Senate such as Bob Hasegawa, representatives from the office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, the Mayor of the City of Bellevue, WA, officials from King County, WA, and members from the Seattle Jewish and Christian communities. In 2003, Imam Joban led a prayer at the Washington State House of Representatives. Imam Joban has previously served as the Imam of the Islamic Center of Olympia, in Olympia, WA.
Conservative Party investigating Councillor Mohammad Aslam over Facebook post claiming Jewish MP was “funded by Israel lobby”
The Conservative Party is reportedly investigating Councillor Mohammad Aslam over posts he allegedly shared on Facebook, including a claim that Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, who lost her seat in the recent election, was “funded by [the] Israel lobby.”

Under the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” is antisemitic.

Cllr Aslam, who represents the Bradley ward on Pendle Borough Council in Lancashire and was a Labour councillor before he defected to the Conservative Party in 2015, reportedly shared a number of other problematic posts on Facebook.

One allegedly said the: “Gaza massacre is the price of a ‘Jewish state.’” He also showed the image of a bloodied child and a description of the Israeli government’s actions as: “Radical Jewish Terrorism.” The post added: “Israel is an illegal state. Israel is a Terrorist State.” In another post, he allegedly shared a video which read: “Jerusalem, we are coming.”

Under the Definition, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.
Republicans trying to push out neo-Nazi from primary for House seat
The Illinois Republican Party is ramping up efforts to make voters aware that a man who identifies as a neo-Nazi is running for a Chicago-area congressional seat.

Arthur Jones will appear on the ballot in the March primary. But signers of his ballot petition told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jones never mentioned that he was a former leader of the American Nazi Party, denies that the Holocaust happened and holds white supremacist views.

Jones has said that his views on the Holocaust are a non-issue.

“It never comes up. When I got my signatures, nobody asked me about the damn Holocaust,” Jones told the Sun-Times in 2018. “It’s totally irrelevant to my campaign. Totally irrelevant.”

The executive director of the Illinois Republican Party, Anthony Sarros, told the Sun-Times that the party is planning an awareness campaign that could include digital advertising, Facebook ads or a mailing ahead of the primary to highlight Jones’ beliefs and remind voters that there are two other Republicans running in the primary.

“We want to make sure that the Republicans, Democrats, any Illinois citizens know that this is not a candidate that we support and we don’t want him winning the election,” Sarros said. “… We hate this. we don’t want this to happen and now I kind of want to know how this happened and how do we prevent this.”
Israel tech exits surge 102% in 2019, reaching $9.9 billion
This year, 2019, was an “outstanding year” for Israel’s tech industry, with the number of exits — mergers and acquisitions or initial public offerings of shares — totaling $9.9 billion, a 102% jump compared to 2018, when the figure was $4.9 billion, according to a new report by consultants PwC Israel.

The figures do not include follow-on transactions — when companies that already had an exit have a second sale. Taking into account follow-on transactions, the total amount of deals (IPOs and M&As) for 2019 jumps to close to $23 billion, from $13.5 billion in 2018, the data shows.

Summing up the data from the past decade, the report said, there were 587 exit deals, for a total value of over $70 billion. When taking into account follow-on transactions — like Mobileye, Orbotech and others which had an initial public offering of shares and later were acquired, the last decade provided “a whopping $107.8 billion in deals,” PwC said in a statement.

The most prominent sectors for exits during the decade were semiconductor firms, computing, software startups and life science companies, accounting for 30.5%, 28.5% and 16.7% of deals, respectively.
New York Times ranks Israeli series 'Prisoners of War' top show of decade
The Israeli television show Prisoners of War, known as Hatufim in Hebrew, was ranked No. 1 on The New York Times list of the 30 best international TV shows of the decade.

The show, which was remade in the United States in 2011 as Homeland, was described by the publication as "tense but in a quiet, leisurely, realistic style; a taut and intelligent political thriller that was above all a melancholy, at times heartbreaking character study of soldiers and families damaged by war."

The show began airing in Israel in March 2010 and is available with English subtitles on Hulu.

The popular Israeli television series Fauda was also on the list at No. 8. The show, which is entering its third season in Israel, was described as an "absorbing, straightforward thriller" that "shrewdly exploits the exigencies and emotions of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and its dusty, maze-like locales."

Other shows on the list included Killing Eve, Sherlock, The Crown, Chewing Gum, and Unforgotten.
Historic synagogue in Alexandria set to be reopened following major renovation
A major project to renovate the largest synagogue in the coastal city of Alexandria has been completed, Egyptian authorities announced over the weekend.

Eliyahu Hanavi, one of two remaining synagogues in the Egyptian city, will be formally reopened in January, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page on Friday.

The house of worship is one of several Jewish sites in Alexandria, which was once home to an estimated 30,000-40,000 Jews. Its current structure was erected in the 1850s, after the original building, which dates back to the 1300s, was badly damaged in the late 18th century, during a French invasion of Egypt. It can hold approximately 700 worshipers.

The renovations included the structural reinforcement of the synagogue, the restoration of its main facade, decorative walls, and brass and wooden objects, as well as the development of its security and lighting systems, the antiquities ministry statement said.

Eliyahu Hanavi was once an “active and bustling” synagogue, but it fell into a precarious state after rain water started to leak through its roof into the women’s section seven to eight years ago, said Alec Nacamuli, a former resident of Alexandria and a board member of the Nebi Daniel Association, an organization that works to preserve Jewish sites in Egypt.

A Prayer Book That Survived Auschwitz Serves as a Powerful Reminder of Judaism’s Endurance
When Raizel Berger was sent to Auschwitz from her home in Transylvania, she brought a siddur with her, hidden in her stockings. Raizel’s granddaughter, Sarah Rindner, reflects on this object, which survived the war along with its owner, and remains in her family’s possession:

The young women in [Raizel’s] bunker, mostly ?asidic Jews from Romania and Hungary, took turns praying from [the siddur] each night. One of the girls worked in the kitchen and snuck out a potato sack to use as a cover for the siddur, onto which she used a rough yarn to embroider a beautiful star of David in the center. The pages of the siddur are delicate with age, but the section containing the Psalms is particularly worn from repeated use.

After the war, my grandmother married my grandfather, a Holocaust survivor from Poland. They moved to the United States and had four daughters in quick succession. The siddur continued to be used on a daily basis in their brownstone home in Brooklyn. . . . In unsentimental fashion typical of Jews of my grandparents’ type, the siddur was not treated as a talisman. At some point, someone even scrawled a phone number on the inside cover.

Since the Shoah, much has been written about the place of the Holocaust in Jewish memory and theology. This discussion, understandably, often focuses on the Holocaust as a kind of inflection point in the relationship and covenant between God and the Jewish people. Yet, for some Jews like my grandmother who lived through the horror itself, there is perhaps more continuity between the pre- and post-Holocaust eras than those abstract discussions assume. Like her siddur—smuggled into Auschwitz, but also consistently and faithfully prayed from in a Brooklyn home long after the events of the war receded into history.

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