Monday, September 28, 2020

From Ian:

Yisrael Medad: A call to revolt, 90 years on
Yom Kippur 5691 fell on a Thursday – October 2, 1930. The next day’s edition of The Palestine Bulletin, the forerunner of this newspaper, informed its readers on page one that “an incident took place last evening when a young Jewish enthusiast desired to have the ram’s horn blown contrary to the temporary regulations issued last year.... Mr. [Julius] Jacobs argued with the youth and tried to persuade him to visit the synagogue nearby.... This he refused to do, and he was accordingly placed under arrest. One hour later he was released.” But let us go back two years to a previous Yom Kippur, which fell on September 24, 1928, to understand the event.

According to a memorandum by Leopold H. Amery, the colonial secretary, issued on November 19, titled “The Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem,” what happened was that without “prior consultation with the proper officers of government as to the arrangements for the services at the Wall,” Jews had affixed a mechitza (partition) to the pavement adjoining the Wall, and, among “other innovations,” additional petrol lamps, a number of mats and an ark “much larger than was customary” were brought to the site.

Incidentally, the mechitza itself was put up by the Radzymin Rebbe, Aharon Menachem Mendel Gutterman (1860-1934), head of the Meir Baal Haness charity, who was visiting at the time.

Called to the area, Inspector Douglas Duff and the district commissioner of Jerusalem, Edward Keith-Roach, requested of the chief Ashkenazi gabbai, Rabbi Noah Baruch Glaszstein, that evening to have the screen removed. It did not happen.

The following day, as Duff relates in his book Bailing with a Teaspoon, he and other policemen came down from Mount Scopus. They removed the partition as Jewish women hit them with their parasols. After tearing down the partition, a Jewish man clung to it as Duff and his men pushed through the angry crowd. Duff tossed the partition, along with the man still clinging to it, a distance from the Wall. According to Davar of September 28, an American Jewish woman was injured in the melee.
With or without normalization, expert on Gulf sees Israel as regional peacemaker
One may be tempted to think Sigurd Neubauer’s new book on Israel’s relations with Arab Gulf states was doomed to become antiquated even before it came out.

The official publication date for “The Gulf Region and Israel: Old Struggles, New Alliances” was September 1 — two weeks after the United Arab Emirates surprisingly announced that it had agreed to normalize relations with Israel, and two weeks before both countries signed a historic peace agreement at the White House lawn. In between, Bahrain also agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

But the dizzying pace of developments in the region is actually good news for him, the Washington-based Middle East analyst said in an email interview this week, because it sheds new light on a lesser-known aspect of the Israel-Gulf alliance: Jerusalem’s quiet but crucial role as a regional peacemaker.

“While the UAE-Israel relationship has been strategic in nature for over a decade, the timing of the accords is of significant geopolitical value,” he said, as they came after “Israel had established itself as a peacemaker in the Gulf after it had helped stabilize intra-Gulf disputes, including between Qatar and its immediate neighbors — the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — and between the UAE and Oman.”

Israel took “decisive steps” to maintain a balance of power between the region’s rival Arab states to prevent Iran from taking advantage of the Gulf crisis, he posited.

In 2017, Qatar was accused by four Arab states of supporting Hamas and other terrorist groups. They imposed a choking blockade on the small country, but Israel threw Doha “a diplomatic lifeline” by cooperating on aid for the Gaza Strip, Neubauer argued. “In this context, Qatar’s motivation for cooperating with Israel — to help alleviate Gaza’s precarious humanitarian situation — is not motivated by fear of Iran per se but by the threat posed by its own neighbors.”

Jerusalem letting Qatar give money to needy Gazans “changed the narrative in Washington away from Qatar supporting Hamas to one that focused on its leveraging its relationship with Hamas to get all the parties to cooperate in support of the Trump administration’s peace plan,” Neubauer previously argued in a piece for Foreign Policy in August.
New York Times Tilts Toward One-State Solution on Israel-Palestine
The New York Times offered readers a signal of what the post-James Bennet, post-Bari Weiss opinion and editorial pages would look like with an op-ed and podcast by Peter Beinart proposing the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel and its replacement with a country Beinart calls “Israel-Palestine,” “a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home,” “a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.”

With its reaction to the peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Times is doubling down on the anti-Zionism of Beinart and his internal champion at the Times, senior opinion editor Max Strasser.

The Times published an op-ed piece by Diana Buttu, a Canadian-born champion of the Orwellian-named “One Democratic State Campaign.” As recently as May, Buttu compared Israel to the Ku Klux Klan, “Just as we would think it unfathomable to dialogue with the KKK, or to accommodate the KKK, so too we must stop coddling Israeli settler-colonialism.”

Under the Times headline, “The U.A.E-Israel Flight Is Nothing To Celebrate,” Buttu wrote, “Rather than continuing to press for a two-state solution, the P.L.O. should instead press for equal rights. … Mr. Abbas and other Palestinian leaders should aim to provide a workable strategy for achieving our rights rather than working to appease Israel, and the international donor community, by adopting an anti-apartheid strategy.”

The Buttu article follows the Beinart-Strasser line, that Zionism is South Africa-style racist apartheid and a one-state solution is preferable to a Jewish state and a Palestinian-Arab state.

American Jews should reject Joe Biden - opinion
Biden’s career as vice president was not any better for Israel. The Obama administration oversaw the lowest point in the US-Israel relations since Israel’s establishment in 1948. Biden was party to regular leaks of Israeli intelligence and political attacks targeting Israel on the global stage. In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US to mend relations. The prime minister was taken in and out of the White House through a side door with no official media related to the visit.

Biden also worked to pass the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel heavily opposed. There are reports that in a 2014 meeting, Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli fighter jets should they target facilities in Iran. Biden does not get to run on the Obama-Biden record and play coy to these events. It is no coincidence that a month before Netanyahu addressed the House of Representatives, the Obama administration decided to declassify a 386-page report on Israeli nuclear capabilities. The report left details on France, Italy and other NATO nations’ programs blacked out.

During Netanyahu’s stay in Washington to address Congress, the White House declined to meet with Netanyahu. The White House claimed this was standard policy due to Netanyahu nearing an election. During the same period, Biden and secretary of state John Kerry traveled to Munich to meet with Labor leader Isaac Herzog, Netanyahu’s opponent in the election.

To paint a clear picture of how Biden sees Israel, he once gave a speech on how Israel was damaging peace negotiations in the region hours after a terrorist killed 21 people in a Jerusalem bus bombing.

Biden views Israel as a prop; he has no real care for the country or its security. If he did care, he would not have sat by as the Obama administration pursued policies the Israelis warned would put their safety in danger.

We should reject Biden’s rhetoric and look at his record. With nearly 50 years to reflect on, Biden does not get to tell us what a Biden administration would look like; we have already seen it.
JPost Editorial: AOC's decision to withdraw from Rabin memorial is 'fake justice'
Brian Reeves, director of development and external relations for Peace Now Israel, urged Ocasio-Cortez to reconsider. “Are you really going to boycott us and all our work with Palestinians to support human rights and an end to the conflict, just because Rabin wasn’t a flawless idle [sic] after 5 decades of conflict?”

The reason we should even care about AOC’s cancellation is what it says about her and the Palestinian activists who opposed her participation in a Rabin memorial.

As Einat Wilf, a former MK and co-author of “The War of Return” wrote, what AOC did was prove once again that no matter what Israel does, it will never be enough for the people who oppose the existence of the Jewish state.

“A myth reigns that assassination of Rabin in 1995 killed peace. It sounds good. It is completely wrong,” Wilf wrote. “Palestinians rejected far better offers made after. The AOC debacle proves yet again that Israel can never do enough because ‘no Israel’ is the goal.”

Sadly, that is the feeling from the AOC affair. If she knew anything about history, she would know Rabin as a man of peace who paid with his life in the fight to advance it. He was shot just after participating in a peace rally and the blood-soaked words of the “Song for Peace” which he had in his pocket at the time, are a testament to that legacy.

It is true that he fought as a soldier to defend his country against great odds but recognized, as his granddaughter Rothman wrote, that peace has to be made with enemies.

AOC’s failure to understand this is a stain on her and the progressive movement that supports her. Her decision does not advance justice or peace. It prevents it.
Biden Camp Scolds AOC for Snubbing Israeli Leader
The Biden campaign accused progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) of undermining the Democratic Party by pulling out of an upcoming event meant to honor Israeli peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin.

A Biden campaign associate called Ocasio-Cortez's decision "problematic" and told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that "if she agrees [to participate in the event] and then pulls out, she’s creating problems for her own party."

Ocasio-Cortez was scheduled to participate in an Oct. 20 event sponsored by the dovish Americans for Peace Now that will memorialize the former Israeli prime minister, who was assassinated in 1995 for his efforts to foster peace with the Palestinians.

Ocasio-Cortez withdrew from the event late last week after anti-Israel activists called out her participation in an event honoring an Israeli leader.

The incident is just the latest flashpoint between Biden’s campaign and far-left Democrats who object to the former vice president’s pro-Israel policies. Ocasio-Cortez and her allies in Congress have tried to push the Democratic Party to adopt policies many see as anti-Israel, including lending support to the Israel boycott movement.

Prepare for 1,500 seriously ill COVID-19 patients by week’s end, warns Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israeli hospitals should be prepared to treat some 1,500 coronavirus patients in serious condition by the end of the week as Israel’s infection rates continued to climb.

According to Channel 12 news, Netanyahu believes the national lockdown could be extended to last for around a month in an attempt to contain the surging outbreak.

Netanyahu held a series of discussions ahead of the start of Yom Kippur on Sunday evening and asked the relevant government ministries and authorities to urgently prepare plans to be presented this week when the so-called coronavirus cabinet convenes on Wednesday.

In a statement released by his office on Monday evening, Netanyahu set out a numbered list of items to be discussed, with the health system preparing to treat 1,500 gravely ill patients by Thursday, October 1 at the top of the list.

The number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients currently stands at 763, as of Monday evening, according to the Health Ministry.

The coronavirus cabinet will also discuss setting goals and indicators for a gradual emergence from Israel’s second national lockdown, progress in vaccines and the purchase and use of rapid COVID-19 tests.

Ministers will discuss the status of the country’s enforcement of the regulations, as well as increasing fines and sanctions for those found violating restrictions.
33 COVID-19 deaths over Yom Kippur, record high of over 200 on ventilators
The Health Ministry said Monday night that 33 people died from COVID-19 over Yom Kippur, raising the national death toll to 1,499.

There were 763 patients in serious condition, with 208 people on ventilators. Additionally there were 287 people in moderate condition.

There were 3,426 new coronavirus infections confirmed Sunday, with 25,204 tests carried out. Testing levels, and therefore the number of new cases, were lower due to the eve of Yom Kippur.

However, a notably high 14.2% of tests came back positive.

Israel had a total of 233,118 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 66,639 active cases.

Health Ministry deputy director-general Itamar Grotto told Channel 12 news on Monday evening that he believed that the two weeks remaining in the national lockdown would not be enough to lower the numbers of patients to a manageable level, and that it would need to be extended.

“I believe that if we take the right steps in the health system and the public keeps to the regulations, wears masks and maintains social distancing, working together we could be [where we need to be with infections levels] in a month,” Grotto said.
Police hand out close to 4,000 fines over Yom Kippur for virus rule violations
Over the past two days, officers handed nearly 4,000 fines to those found in violation of the coronavirus restrictions, the police reported on Monday evening after Yom Kippur. Israel is in the midst of a second national lockdown, with restrictions on movement and activity tightened as of Friday.

A majority of the fines, 2,789, were issued to people found outside their residence for a “prohibited” purpose, police said, violating a rule to travel from home only for essential needs.

Over 900 fines were handed to people for not wearing masks, and 44 for violating quarantine orders. Some 60 fines were issued to people found at the beach, or a place of business that was prohibited from operating.

There was no specific mention of any synagogues found to be violating regulations pertaining to the number of worshipers inside.

The police said that its officers will continue to “work with the authorities and other law enforcement agencies to stop the spread of the coronavirus to protect the public and its health.”

The police called on the public to heed instructions as part of the national effort to battle the spread of the coronavirus in Israel.
NYC threatens to sanction schools as COVID surges in Orthodox areas of Brooklyn
Coronavirus infection rates have increased at “an alarming rate” in several New York neighborhoods, particularly among the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, city health authorities warned Sunday, threatening to sanction certain schools if they fail to comply with anti-virus regulations.

Although the Big Apple has touted that it kept its infection rate under one percent for more than a month, six neighborhoods in Brooklyn and two in Queens have seen their rates spike, surpassing five to six percent in Midwood and Gravesend.

The increase coincides with the Jewish High Holidays, the most holy days in the Jewish calendar, that culminate Monday with Yom Kippur.

“These areas account for over 23 percent of new cases citywide… despite representing just under seven percent of the city’s overall population,” New York city health services said in a press release.

They added that the data showed an increase in hospitalized patients in two Brooklyn hospitals, and at least one hospital in Queens.

The increase has raised fears of a second wave in New York, which reported a record 23,800 Covid-19 fatalities when the epidemic peaked in the spring.

On Friday, health authorities organized a press conference in one of the most affected Brooklyn neighborhoods, Borough Park.

“This may be the most precarious position with Covid-19 we have experienced in months,” said health commissioner Dave Chokshi, urging people to wear face masks and respect social distancing measures.

But he and his colleagues were booed by at least two people in the crowd, including an Orthodox Jewish radio host known for his anti-mask stance, Heshy Tischler, video from NBC showed.
Egypt-PA crisis looms as Abbas moves closer to Turkey, Qatar and Hamas
Egypt is upset with the Palestinian Authority leadership for reportedly undercutting Cairo’s role as a main player in the Palestinian arena, particularly with regards to ending the Fatah-Hamas rivalry, Palestinian sources said on Monday.

The Egyptians are also said to be disturbed by the recent rapprochement between the PA, Qatar and Turkey.

The PA leadership, on the other hand, is reported to be “disappointed” with the Egyptians for supporting the recent normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The Palestinians have accused the two Gulf states of “stabbing the Palestinian people in the back” and “betraying al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Palestinian issue.”

The Egyptians, over the decade, have acted as the main peacemakers between Fatah and Hamas. They have also played a key role in arranging ceasefires between Israel and Hamas.

The Fatah-Hamas dispute reached its peak in 2007, when Hamas overthrew the PA regime and violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. Since 2009, Egypt has sponsored five reconciliation agreements between Fatah and Hamas, none of which was ever fully implemented.
The Dangerous New Iran-Qatar-Turkey-Hamas Alliance
Abbas has already damaged the Palestinians' relations with some Arab countries by condemning the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for signing peace treaties with Israel.... Now it appears that the Palestinians are also headed toward ruining their relations with Egypt because of Abbas's decision to make peace with Hamas and appease Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

"Qatar has provided Hamas with more than a billion dollars since 2012... Qatar did not provide these funds out of a humanitarian standpoint and to help the residents of the Gaza Strip. The Qataris did so to help Hamas and its leaders and to enable Qatar to establish a foothold in the region." — Egyptian writer Hashem al-Fahkrani,, September 21, 2020.

"Those who believe that Hamas's first goal is to resist Israel are mistaken. Its first and only goal is to receive money. Hamas's slogan is: Loyalty to anyone who pays the most." — Hashem al-Fahkrani.

Yet, the Palestinian leadership and the international community appear distinctly indifferent the looming danger of this newest axis of evil. For them, the only fate worse than death is normalization between the Arabs and Israel. Abbas has once again pegged his hopes and those of his people on entities that would obstruct the Palestinians and destroy Israel.

US faces crossroads in Iraq with threat of embassy closure
Three years after the US refused to back an independence referendum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and sided with Baghdad the Americans may be relocating what is left of their personnel in Iraq to the Kurdish region near the city of Erbil. This is because the US has now thrown down the gauntlet with Iranian-backed groups in Iraq: Stop the attacks on US forces and installations, or the US will leave the embassy.

In the last week Iraq has been roiled by more attacks on the US. After the White House warned Iran against its ballistic missile threats, Iran sought to pressure the US through emphasizing US setbacks at the UN. Russia and China joined Tehran in mocking Washington. At the same time the head of Iran’s IRGC Aerospace unit, Amir Hajizadeh, said that Iran had a robust indigenous production line of missiles. Iran has shown more and more local missiles off in recent years, alongside drones and other weapons, including new unmanned military vehicles.

On September 23 and 24 the US upped their patrols in Syria with a new shipment of six Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Meanwhile Iran sought to put its hands on eastern Iraq near the Kurdistan region in the north, ostensibly to stop smuggling. The US, flexing its muscles, said that for the first time in two and a half years it conducted airstrikes from a 5th Fleet aircraft carrier, in support of anti-ISIS operations.

Elliot Abrams, US Special Envoy for Iran issues, said the US would announce new sanctions on Iran. In Iraq the Iraqi leadership, including Muqtada al-Sadr, condemned recent attacks on a British diplomatic convoy. Hadi al-Amiri’s Fatah Alliance, which is close to Iran, also said it opposed the attack. But there were more rocket and explosive (IED) attacks anyway in the works.
Saudi Arabia says it busted terrorist cell trained by IRGC
Saudi Arabia said on Monday it had taken down a terrorist cell this month that had received training from Iran's Revolutionary Guards, arresting 10 people and seizing weapons and explosives.

The spokesman for the presidency of state security said in a statement on state media that three of those arrested had been trained in Iran while the rest were "linked to the cell in various roles."

Cell members "received military and field training, including on how to make explosives, inside Revolutionary Guards sites in Iran" for several weeks in late 2017, he said.

The statement said weapons and explosives were confiscated at two locations, a house and a farm, in the Gulf Arab state, the world's largest oil exporter and a key US ally.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran are locked in several proxy wars in the region, including in Yemen. Riyadh has blamed Iran for an unprecedented missile and drone attack on the kingdom's oil facilities last year, a charge Tehran denies.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unveil naval ballistic missile, claim 700 km. range
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Sunday unveiled a new naval ballistic missile with a potential range of over 700 kilometers (430 miles), local media reported, following months of tensions with arch-enemy the United States.

The missile, dubbed “Zolfaghar Basir”, is the naval variant of the surface-to-surface Zolfaghar ballistic missile, according to Tasnim news agency.

Its range is more than twice that of the Islamic republic’s other naval missiles, including the “Hormuz-2”, with a range of 300 kilometers, which Tehran said it successfully tested in March 2017.

Tasnim did not specify whether or not the new missile has been tested yet.

Images published by Tasnim showed the Zolfaghar Basir installed on a launcher truck during the inauguration of Tehran’s National Aerospace Park on Sunday.

“This exhibition shows the comprehensive plan of the deterrent power of the (Islamic republic’s) system,” Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami said at the inauguration, according to Tasnim.

Iran’s Guards used the Zolfaghar in 2017 and 2018 against the Islamic State group in Syria in retaliation for terrorist attacks carried out in the country.

The missile was also used in January to target bases in Iraq housing US troops, according to IRNA news agency, days after the US killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad.
Dutch city of Haarlem withdraws honor from rapper who downplayed the Holocaust
Darryl Danchelo Osenga will no long become the official poet of Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands, after his past comments dismissing the severity of the Holocaust caused a firestorm.

City officials said they had discussed some of Osenga’s past statements with him before appointing him city poet and he had distanced himself from them, according to Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch newspaper. But after HE was appointed, advocacy groups raised concerns about a 2012 song that called the Holocaust a “cover up for dumb sheep” and a “joke” compared to slavery.

Two days after announcing Osenga’s appointment, Haarlem withdrew it.

“After the appointment was announced, new quotes from Darryl Danchelo Osenga emerged that are at odds with values ​​that the municipality of Haarlem stands for,” the city said in a statement, according to the newspaper.

Osenga, who performs as Insayno, posted a statement on his Facebook page Friday lamenting his loss of the honor and reporting that he was receiving death threats because of the criticism. “Every person makes jokes they thought were funny but in the end they weren’t,” he wrote. (h/t Zvi)
Scoring a goal for normalization, UAE soccer team signs Israeli player
An Arab club has for the first time signed an Israeli footballer, Diaa Sabia, less than two weeks after the UAE normalized ties with the Jewish state.

Sabia, a 27-year-old Israeli Arab attacking midfielder with China’s Guangzhou R&F, signed a two-year contract with Dubai’s Al-Nasr, the club said in a statement Sunday.

The transfer reportedly cost more than 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million).

“Al-Nasr has completed the procedures with Diaa Sabai … in a contract that extends for two seasons after he successfully passed medical examinations this morning,” it said in a statement.

Al-Nasr tweeted footage of Sabia wearing the number 9 jersey, dribbling and shooting in the emirate’s Al-Maktoum Stadium.

Sabia’s move comes after the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, signed a US-brokered accord to normalize ties with Israel on September 15, the first such deal with a Gulf nation.

Sabia — who is of Palestinian origin — was born in northern Israel and rose through the ranks of a youth club before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2012.
Bahrain’s lost Jews look forward to returning after peace with Israel
Bahrain’s dwindling community of less than 50 Jews has been offered a new lease on life in the wake of the signing of this month’s historic Abraham Accords, with many in Israel anxious to reconnect to their homeland.

Most forfeited their passports when making aliyah, so exact, current numbers are unclear. The Jewish Agency has only two formal registrations but numbers are certainly far higher than that. Munir Akirav, 35, is one of a small number of Jews of Bahraini origin living in Israel, born in Givatayim. His mother and her family left Bahrain in 1970.

“My personal connection to Bahrain is based on stories, pictures, videos, from my mother’s family,” he says. “The connection is one of nostalgia and longing for a time of which you were never apart. So, for me it’s a very, very strong feeling,” explains the accountant and credit analyst. When he heard the news of the Abraham Accords, overcoming decades of political annexation of Israel, he said he “jumped for joy.”

That feeling of nostalgia has manifested in many ways over the years, including feeling sadness that his friends could return to the lands of their ancestors, reconnect and learn more about their origins, as like Poland and Germany, but he could not. Before the accord, his return “home” was never an option, but now, that has all changed. He now has a Bahraini flag proudly waving outside his family’s home and longs for the day he will get to walk the streets of Manama.
2,000 Jewish Ethiopians approved to make aliyah, who will be left behind?
Earlier this month, the government approved a decision allowing 2,000 members of the remaining Jewish community in Ethiopia to immigrate to Israel.

Every Jewish immigrant from Ethiopia who finally realizes his or her dream to enter the Promised Land and reunite with loved ones represents the end of a long struggle for that individual. And during these most difficult times this is especially true. But this decision leaves behind thousands more members of the community who were promised on countless occasions by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they would be granted permission to immigrate by the end of 2020. Their future still remains in question.

It also means that their families in Israel from whom they are separated are faced with an inhumane quandary: Will their child/sibling/parent be included in the “coveted list” of 2,000 immigrants or will yet another year go by of unbearable longing? This harrowing question that many of the families are facing this holiday season – “who will enter and who will be left behind,” from the ‘Unetaneh Tokef’ poem recited on the High Holy Days – is a question that no Israeli or Jew should ever be forced to ask.

One such individual is 22-year-old Gelagay Alemayehu. Alemayehu immigrated to Israel in 2012 with nine of his siblings and his parents, while two of his siblings were left behind. Like many other Ethiopian Jews, the two siblings were promised that in a short time they too would make aliyah. More than eight years have passed and the Alemayehu family is still waiting for that promise to be realized.

Alemayehu served in an elite reconnaissance unit in the IDF. He reported to reserve duty this month and will return again next month. He is a decorated soldier and received citations of excellence during his service. His sister in Ethiopia recently underwent surgery and she remains quite ill, due to the lack of treatment options available in Ethiopia.
South African Song Paying Tribute to Jerusalem Sparks Viral Dance Challenge
An upbeat gospel-inspired tune from South Africa that pays tribute to the city of Jerusalem and inspired a viral dance challenge has now been endorsed by the country’s president.

“Jerusalema,” by local musician Master KG, features singer Nomcebo Zikode, and was released on YouTube in November 2019. According to news channel News24, the song, which was recorded in the Zulu language, went viral earlier this year after the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge started trending on social media.

On Heritage Day, September 24, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to do the “Jerusalema” dance challenge to celebrate the “diverse heritage of our nation.” The song was also performed by American singer Janet Jackson and Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

So far, the music video for the song has been viewed more than 157 million times.

Fans in countries around the world – including Spain, Italy, France, Jamaica and Canada – filmed themselves doing pre-set dance moves to the song and uploaded the clips onto social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.

On September 8, the music app Shazam announced on Instagram that “Jerusalema” was the most “Shazamed” song in the world.

“It is so wonderful to see the love from all over the world,” said Master KG.“I used to dream of such moments when I was still underground and starting to make music.”

Yom Kippur passes peacefully as prayers held outside
Israel spent the Yom Kippur fast day in lockdown due to the high number of patients.

People were asked to refrain from going to synagogue or to pray in open spaces in small groups of no more than 20 people and reports after the holiday revealed that the public largely adhered to those guidelines.

With the massive spike in COVID-19 infections in the ultra-Orthodox community, concerns were high that mass synagogue attendance over Yom Kippur would exacerbate the epidemic in that sector.

According to Benny Rabinowitz, a prominent ultra-Orthodox journalist and commentator, some synagogues were operating but with drastically fewer worshipers than usual, adding that many elderly people stayed at home entirely to avoid exposure to the disease.

Yaakov Veeder, a member of the Bnei Brak municipal council for the Likud party acknowledged that there had been many prayer services held outdoors, saying it was “not a normal Yom Kippur,” in that respect.

He said however that although synagogues that had remained open tried to implement a capsule system, parents struggled to control children from breaking the capsules.

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