Friday, November 27, 2020

From Ian:

Natan Sharansky and the Meaning of Freedom
Natan Sharansky has been a computer scientist, a chess player, a refusenik, a dissident, a political prisoner, a party leader, a government minister, a nonprofit executive, and a bestselling author. He never expected to be a school counselor.

But the coronavirus dashes expectations. In early March, when the virus began to appear in Jewish communities outside New York City, Sharansky found himself online, in an unaccustomed position. He began to share with students and parents whose schools were closed how he had coped during years in confinement.

"At first, it seemed absurd, even obscene," Sharansky writes in his latest book, Never Alone, coauthored with the historian Gil Troy. "How could my experience of playing chess in my head in my punishment cell compare to being cooped up in gadget-filled homes wired to the internet—with computer chess—especially because this isolation is imposed to protect people, not break them?"

What Sharansky realized is that the costs of lockdowns do not depend on the reasons behind them. The sudden and seemingly arbitrary interruption of individual plans, movements, and relationships causes psychological harm. Sharansky recorded a brief YouTube video for the Jewish Agency—you can watch it here—offering his five tips for quarantine. Recognize the importance of your choices and behavior, Sharansky advised. Understand that some things are beyond your control. Keep laughing. Enjoy your hobbies. Consider yourself part of a larger cause.

"Surprisingly," Sharansky writes, "this short clip went viral, reaching so many people all over the world within a few days that it made me wonder why even bother writing this book." His reaction was another example of his droll and often self-deprecating wit. The video, however helpful it may be, does not match the power and wisdom of Never Alone. Part autobiography, part meditation on Jewish community, the book ties together the themes of Sharansky’s earlier work, from his prison memoir, Fear No Evil (1988), to his defense of cultural particularity, Defending Identity (2008). It is a moving story of emancipation and connection, of freedom and meaning.

Sharansky was born in 1948 in the Ukrainian city of Stalino. His given name was Anatoly. His parents were educated professionals who downplayed their Jewish identity. They did not want to risk political and social reprisal. "The only real Jewish experience I had was facing anti-Semitism," he writes. The precocious youth spent his early years playing chess. He learned to navigate a Soviet system that maintained its rule through fear. He became captive to doublethink. He repeated official lies and myths not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was the safe thing to do.


Caroline Glick: Justice (and anti-Semitism) you shall pursue
Over the past week or so we have been witnessing the emergence of a new sort of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. The new form of Jew-hatred is a combination of anti-Zionism and identity politics. It is convoluted and hard to follow. But contradictions and all, it has arrived. And Jewish Americans, sensing the partisan disposition, are adapting themselves accordingly.

The first place to look for the new Jew-hatred is in Joe Biden's appointments. Most of the attention this week has been focused on Biden's senior appointments. Biden appointed Tony Blinken, who is Jewish, to serve as his secretary of state. As John Kerry's deputy, Blinken played a major role in crafting the nuclear deal with Iran which, while billed as a non-proliferation agreement, gave the world's greatest state sponsor of terrorism an open path to a nuclear arsenal. Like his former boss, Blinken is faithful to the view that the Palestinians are the strategic nerve center of the Middle East. Without their agreement, it is impossible – or if possible, wrong – for Arab states to make peace with Israel.

Blinken is considered an establishment figure rather than an ideologue. But since he is a Jew, party ideologues view him as suspect. For instance, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib responded to the news of his appointment with an anti-Semitic tweet. Responding to socialist Senator Bernie Sanders' praise for Blinken's appointment, Tlaib averred, "So long as he doesn't suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu's racist and inhumane policies."

Two other appointments announced this week certainly were more to Tlaib's liking.

Biden appointed Reema Dodin, a Palestinian American to serve as the deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. As the pro-Israel website Elder of Zion reported, in 2002, as a student at the University of California Berkeley, Dodin was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Muslim Students Association. In that capacity, she gave a speech at a church in Lodi, California where she justified suicide bombers. In her words at the time, "The suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people."

After her remarks were reported by Fox News, the Biden campaign issued a defensive response. Notably, the campaign made no effort to either deny or distance itself from Dodin's justification for the mass murder of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists. Instead, the campaign response read, "Reema is the first to tell you she has grown from her youth in her approach to pushing for change."

In other words, Dodin continues to justify the mass murder of Jews. But now that she's a grown-up, she presents it differently.


Freed British-Australian Academic Was Detained in Iran Due to Israeli Partner: Media
A British-Australian academic who was freed from Iranian jail on Thursday was detained in 2018 on espionage charges after authorities there found her partner was an Israeli citizen, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, was released from prison in exchange for three Iranians who had been detained abroad, Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB reported.

Australia and Iran took more than six months to come to an agreement for a prisoner-swap deal for Moore-Gilbert, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Sydney Morning Herald said, citing unidentified sources.

The prisoner exchange deal – which Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday repeatedly declined to comment on – also involved high-level negotiations with the Thailand government, the report said.

Thai authorities disclosed three Iranians who were arrested in 2012 had been deported and sent to Iran. The New York Times reported the three Iranians had been held in Thailand over a bomb plot.

Australia and Moore-Gilbert have rejected Iran’s allegations that she was working as a spy for Israel.
Israeli ex-envoy fumes over Thailand’s release of Iranians jailed for bomb plot
Israel’s former ambassador to Thailand fumed over the release of three Iranians arrested over a 2012 bomb plot in Bangkok targeting Israeli diplomats, in what was widely seen to be an exchange after Iran freed an Australian-British lecturer imprisoned for alleged spying.

Thailand’s corrections department said Thursday that two of the men — Masoud Sedaghatzadeh and Saeid Moradi — were transferred as prisoners while the third, Mohammad Khazaei, was granted a royal pardon in August.

Thai officials have not explicitly linked the transfer with the release of Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who returned to Australia after two years in detention in Iran on espionage charges.

But Iranian state TV said Wednesday that Moore-Gilbert was swapped for three Iranians.

“I don’t know anything about this deal beyond what was published. Of course it saddens me to see the pictures as [the Iranians] celebrate instead of rotting in prison, if they haven’t already been executed,” Itzhak Shoham, the ex-ambassador, told Channel 12 news.

Shoham said “my only consolation” is that former Quds Force chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose Quds Force was accused of orchestrating the plot, was killed this January in a US drone strike.
Will a prisoner swap with Australia encourage more hostage-taking by Iran?
The Iranian media says she was exchanged for an Iranian “economic activist” and two Iranian citizens, who had been detained “abroad on trumped-up charges”. The report does not name the men.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given a carefully worded statement in response to questions about a prisoner swap. "If other people have been released in other places, they are the decisions of the sovereign governments. There are no people who have been held in Australia who have been released."

That may be true as far as Australia is concerned. But a report by The New York Times, quoting Iranian social media channels associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), identifies the three Iranians as Saeed Moradi, Mohammad Khazaei and Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh. The three had been detained in Thailand since 2012 on charges of planning to plant bombs in Bangkok and assassinate Israeli diplomats there. One of those men had reportedly lost his legs when a bomb he was carrying exploded prematurely.

In a similar context, the release last year of two Australians being held in Iran, Jolie King and Mark Firkin, coincided with an Iranian research student at the University of Queensland, Reza Dehbashi Kivi, being permitted by Australian officials to return to his home country. Dehbashi Kivi had allegedly been seeking to export radar equipment for detecting stealth planes in contravention of US sanctions. The ABC reported at the time the US was seeking his extradition.

The Australian government is depicting Moore-Gilbert’s release as a win for quiet diplomacy in assisting Australians arrested abroad. There is no doubt a calm and measured approach is the most effective way of resolving knotty consular cases – even when the charges levelled against our citizens seem highly doubtful, as was the case with Moore-Gilbert.
Are Australian news reports whitewashing who the Iranian prisoners freed by Thailand really are?
Mainstream Australian media reports like the one in Melbourne's The Age right now answer the ABC headline's question. But in doing so, they significantly mischaracterize who the three Iranians imprisoned by Thailand, and now released, were and are. It reports that the three Iranian convicted terrorists, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, Saeid Moradi and Mohammad Khazaei
"were all detained in Thailand on charges of having planned to bomb the capital, Bangkok, in 2012 that authorities said was intended to target Israeli diplomats... News of the exchange was first broken by Iran's Young Journalist Club, a news website affiliated to state television in Iran, which trumpeted the release of the three men who faced "baseless charges" and were "exchanged for a dual national spy named Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who worked for the Zionist regime".

This is horse manure.

The Iranians weren't detained. They were tried, convicted on terrorism charges and imprisoned by Thailand. See Reuters, August 22, 2013. Prior to their convictions, we wrote about the thwarted terror attack here: "16-Feb-12: Bangkok: So what actually happened there on Tuesday?"

"Detained" is what the Arabic-language media mischievously say about fugitive Sbarro bomber Ahlam Tamimi constantly ["16-Nov-20: Justice, the Tamimi extradition and what Jordan tells Arabic media but not the world"]. It conceals the reality that she confessed and was tired and convicted of terrorism and helps sentenced to sixteen terms of life imprisonment. Their systematic concealing of incontrovertible reality lets them get away with murder.

It's now plausible, at least to us, that this week's multi-party deal is the reason why Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian-British academic who lectures in Islamic studies at University of Melbourne, was taken prisoner and held hostage by Iran in the first place.


Corbyn to start legal action as UK’s Labour denies him parliamentary membership
The former leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, is to begin legal action against the party after it refused to readmit him to its parliamentary ranks amid a row on anti-Semitism, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said Corbyn’s allies claimed a deal was made with party leader Keir Starmer and say they have proof of meetings on the matter.

Starmer, who was elected leader in April, refused to allow Corbyn to come back to the parliamentary party after vowing to root out anti-Semitism in Labour that opponents alleged went unchecked and flourished under Corbyn, and saw Jewish members and lawmakers leave in droves.

The newspaper said it was believed Corbyn’s legal team would attempt to present evidence of what they claim was a deal between Starmer’s chief of staff, Morgan McSweeney, and his deputy, Simon Fletcher, with Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, and the former shadow cabinet minister Jon Trickett representing Corbyn.

The Guardian said it saw evidence of communications between members of Starmer’s office and representatives of Corbyn which suggested there were private meetings, but the newspaper gave no details on what may have been discussed.

Corbyn’s team is also expected to claim that Starmer, McSweeney and Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, met McCluskey and Trickett in parliament the day after Corbyn’s suspension in the wake of a report on anti-Semitism in the party. Labour sources do not deny that meeting took place, and Starmer is understood to have made clear he didn’t want any involvement in decisions around the convening of the disciplinary panel to discuss Corbyn’s case, the Guardian reported.
Antisemitism is alive and well at Sydney Uni
Under Corbyn’s leadership, according to the report, Labour politicians compared Israelis to Nazis, suggested that Israel cease to exist, accused Jewish bankers of running the world, and described Jews as a “fifth column”; just to name a few examples. Jewish MP Luciana Berger – who quit the party in 2019 due to antisemitic abuse – required police protection at the 2018 Labour Party conference. When complaints were raised regarding antisemitism, Corbyn and his office quashed them – unlawfully – on multiple occasions.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of Corbyn’s relationship with antisemitism, yet the Sydney Students’ Representative Council (SRC) somehow conjured up the drivel that “there is no evidence that he has ever done or said anything indicating prejudice against Jewish people”.

The SRC’s defence of Corbyn, and suggestion that Jews reporting antisemitism within the Labour Party are propagating a “cynical lie intended to intimidate and silence the left” and its “criticism of Israel”, is antisemitic gaslighting at its worst. 2019 polling of British Jewry revealed 87 per cent view Corbyn as antisemitic, while 47 per cent would “seriously consider” emigrating had Corbyn won the 2019 election. Yet the council that purportedly represents the students at the University of Sydney – including a large Jewish cohort – had the gall to accuse Jews of defaming Corbyn for political gain.

One cannot imagine the SRC passing a motion accusing African-Americans of running a political smear campaign against American police. Nor could one fathom a motion stating Indigenous Australians who accuse Pauline Hanson of racism are spreading propaganda for political purposes. These would rightfully be called out as disgraceful displays of bigotry. So why is it acceptable to level such accusations against Jews?

The sentiment behind this motion is nothing new. It rests on the myth believed by many on the left that they’re categorically incapable of being bigoted. The motion reflected this, claiming accusations against Corbyn represent “an attack upon the anti-racist and anti-imperialist left”.


Amazon says investigating anti-Semitic conspiracy theory responses from ‘Alexa’
Tech giant Amazon said on Thursday it was investigating after its smart speaker was found to give anti-Semitic responses to questions about the Holocaust and conspiracy theories.

The issue came to light after a British lawmaker initially raised the matter in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, saying he was “deeply alarmed” by the tech program’s responses to certain questions.

Andrew Percy, who also serves as vice-chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary group, said that when prompted the Alexa technology “responds to various questions about Jewish people, the Holocaust and the State of Israel by quoting anti-Semitic conspiracy websites and using selective quotes from other sources which are misleading without further information.”

Percy wrote that when asked if “the elders of Zion control the world,” Alexa responded by quoting a website that said: “The swindlers of Zion have revealed their scheme to subjugate the nations and gain control of the world.”

In a separate letter, from the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, MPs said that the “full article describes the claim as ‘viciously anti-Semitic,’ but Alexa omits this crucial point.”

The group raised the concerns in a letter to the Amazon chief in the UK, John Boumphrey.
BBC Arabic edits to a translated English language BDS campaign report
Following US Secretary of State Pompeo’s declaration that the BDS campaign is antisemitic in nature, the BBC published an article on November 19th which was previously discussed here. The following day an Arabic version of that article – headlined “What is the worldwide BDS movement which calls for a boycott against Israel?” – appeared on the BBC Arabic website.. The Arabic translation has made alterations to the English original as follows:

1) The last paragraph has been removed from the Arabic version of the article:
“Last year, Germany’s parliament said the actions of the BDS, such as the placing of ‘don’t buy’ stickers on Israeli products, were reminiscent of the ‘terrifying’ Nazi campaign against Jewish people under Adolf Hitler.”

As noted in our post discussing the English language version, the Bundestag did not just make the quoted comparison regarding a specific BDS practice; it also passed a resolution which labelled the entire BDS campaign as antisemitic. Nevertheless, BBC Arabic editors chose to keep that whole paragraph from view.

This is not the first time that BBC Arabic has misleadingly omitted information informing audiences of the acceptance of American and Israeli positions in Europe and elsewhere. Just last month it failed to mention that Ahlam Tamimi, the terrorist who facilitated the Sbarro bombing of August 2001, is categorised as such not only by the United States and Israel but also by the United Kingdom, the European Union and many others – as a member of Hamas’s ‘Izz ad-Din al-Qassam battalions.

The exact same happened a year ago, when BBC Arabic published a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) backgrounder which selectively pointed out that “the United States views the movement as a terrorist ‘organisation’”, without clarifying that the same is true for the United Kingdom and the EU (and also Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada).

2) BBC Arabic added to its version of the article the following Anadolu agency photograph of plane hijacker Leila Khaled, together with the caption “Palestinian persona Leila Khaled attends a conference of solidarity with the Palestinian people in South Africa”.
Scottish paper finally retracts false claim about chemo in Gaza
On Aug. 25, we contacted editors at The National (0f Scotland) over a claim in a piece by their foreign editor David Pratt (“In Gaza there is no new normal … just the same old hell haunted by death”, Aug. 21) that “Neither chemotherapy nor radiology treatments are available due to Israeli restrictions on medication entering the strip”.

Despite providing sources to refute their allegation, as well as an email by COGAT flatly denying the charge, and sending several follow up emails, we didn’t receive a reply, which prompted us to take our complaint to IPSO – an independent regulator of the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK.

After a series of communications over nearly three months between CAMERA UK, IPSO and the newspaper, which included their editor citing a source which – upon examination – linked to a report (from 2009) that clearly didn’t back up their allegation, they finally agreed to retract the claim, and published the following editor’s note:
Woman Screaming ‘Slaughter the Jews’ Attacks Rabbi in Central Vienna as Onlookers Stand By
A woman screaming “Slaughter the Jews” attacked a rabbi in broad daylight on a Vienna street on Thursday afternoon as passersby reportedly looked the other way.

The attack occurred at 4pm in the Austrian capital’s Third District. The woman, said to be about 50 years old, approached the rabbi at a tram stop shouting “Slaughter the Jews” and brandishing a knife. She then ripped the rabbi’s hat and kippah from his head and kicked him before fleeing the scene.

According to Austrian media reports, the rabbi — who was not seriously harmed — told police officers that despite the presence of several witnesses, no-one came to his aid. Police are currently trying to apprehend the woman.

Austrian politicians were quick to condemn the attack.

“We must fight antisemitism with all our determination and do everything to make Jewish life here in Austria safe,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated following the outrage.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said he had ordered extra security around synagogues following the attack and pledged to find the rabbi’s assailant.

“All measures will be taken to quickly clear up this obviously antisemitic attack,” he said. “There is no tolerance for antisemitism – regardless of whether it is politically or religiously motivated.”
Canadian Campus Fraternity Behind Racist, Antisemitic Chatroom ‘Seething With Hate’
A fraternity at a Canadian university was in the spotlight on Friday for running a private online chatroom reportedly “seething with hateful comments” against Blacks, Jews and the LGBT+ community.

Delta Chi members at the University of Windsor, in Ontario, made slews of racist, anti-Black, homophobic and antisemitic barbs in the private chatroom, according to screen captures shared with PinkNews by anti-racist activists on the campus who exposed the chatroom’s existence.

An email written by one of the activists said that members of Delta Chi referred to Black Lives Matter protesters as “criminals” and “idiots” and talked about “how they hate Black people and that Black people were better as slaves.”

The email continued: “They describe how they wish they could own Black people as slaves, and they dream about the day there are less immigrants in Windsor and even shooting Indians.”

Members also spoke of recreating tortures enacted by the Klu Klux Klan and routinely used racial slurs, the source added, before claiming that they “talk about burning Jewish people”.
French Court Sentences Holocaust Denier Vincent Reynouard to New Jail Term
A notorious French Holocaust denier was jailed for four months by a court in Paris on Wednesday.

51-year-old Vincent Reynouard was convicted for posting a Holocaust denial video on YouTube in May 2017 — a grave offense in France, where the denial of Nazi atrocities has been a crime since 1990.

Reynouard is well-known in Holocaust denial circles in Europe, with a far-right pedigree stretching back to his teenage years. His first conviction came in 1991, after he distributed leaflets that denied the existence of the gas chambers among high school students.

Reynouard also has ties to Catholic fundamentalist groups that deny the Holocaust, including the Society of St. Pius X, which regards Jews as “enemies of the Church.”

More recently, he was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros in 2008; one year in prison in 2015; and two months in prison in 2016 — all for Holocaust denial offenses.

Reynouard’s latest conviction follows a 17-month-jail term for his fellow Holocaust denier, Hervé Lalin.
Politician noted for antisemitic comments nominated to Austrian Senate
Johannes Hübner, who was the foreign affairs spokesman for the Austrian Freedom Party (AFP) until 2017, has just been appointed to the Bundesrat, the equivalent to the Austrian Senate, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) reported on Wednesday.

In 2017, Hübner had initiated a run for the Austrian parliament.

He stopped when he was recorded at a far-right event making antisemitic comments.

During the event, Hübner referred to the creator of the Austrian constitution as a 'Kohn,' a word which had been used by Nazis during the 1930s to discredit a constitutional scholar of Jewish descent.

Likewise, Hübner also claimed that Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern, who was awarded the Friedrich-Torberg awardee of the Jewish Community Vienna, has contacts with the 'Freemasons,' a common antisemitic conspiracy theory.

At the same event, Hübner asserted that the Austrian newspaper always mentions the AFP in the context of National Socialism, citing a 'so-called Holocaust survivor.'
Jewish Man Confronted With Hitler Salutes While Walking in Australian City of Melbourne
A Jewish man in the Australian city of Melbourne was reported to be in shock on Friday night after he was showered with antisemitic abuse by a couple he encountered in the street.

The incident occurred in the Murrumbeena neighborhood. According to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) — an Australian Jewish advocacy group that monitors antisemitic incidents — the man was wearing headphones when he noticed the couple trying to get his attention. When he removed his headphones, the couple began yelling “Heil Hitler” and made Nazi salutes.

As he walked away, the victim — who was not wearing a kippah — was subjected to repeated chants of “Heil Hitler.”

The ADC expressed concern that a specific pattern of attacks was becoming apparent, noting that earlier this week, an Orthodox Jewish woman shopping at a supermarket was told by a white man to “f–k off, Jew.”

“We are going down a path whereby anyone who may be perceived as being Jewish will not feel safe walking our streets for fear of being targeted and singled out for abuse,” ADC chair Dvir Abramovich said in a statement. “We cannot allow an open season on Jews to become the new normal, and this terrifying and despicable attack, which could have turned violent, occurred amid a dangerous tide of escalating anti-Semitism in Melbourne and a disturbing rash of similar incidents. Enough is enough.”
'Not in my city': Bay Area resident films man posting Nazi stickers
A Marin man went viral after confronting an individual seen putting Nazi stickers around downtown Fairfax.

Noah Mohan said he was walking his dog Tuesday when he noticed a man with stickers. When Mohan went for a closer look, he saw the stickers had swastikas with the phrase "We Are Everywhere." He took out his cell phone and began recording the man, telling him to stop vandalizing the town and demanding the masked man show his face. When the man declined, Mohan responded, "If you stand by that ideology, stand by that s—."

As the man continued to post up Nazi insignia, Mohan followed and ripped down each sticker. "Not in my city," he can be heard saying in a nine-minute video of the incident. In the video, the man defends his stickers by saying "they're my ideology" and, when a bystander asks him if he's ever seen the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz, the man responds, "I don't believe it is real."

"Personally, I will not let that s— slide in my town and I hope you guys feel the same way," Mohan posted on Instagram. "Racism is alive and growing in Marin county and we need to call it out and condemn it at all costs if we want this to be a safe and peaceful place for people of all skin color, religion, etc."

Mohan and a bystander stayed on the scene until they were able to flag down a police officer. The man, who is only being identified by Fairfax police as a 19-year-old from Livermore, was detained and later released. Police told the Marin Independent-Journal the case was being referred to the district's attorney's office for possible charges.
Elbit Systems wins contract with Spanish Army
Elbit Systems has been awarded a contrat to supply E-LynX Software Defined Radio solution for the combat battalion level of the Spanish Army, the company announced Thursday.

The solution to be supplied comprises hundreds of handheld E-LynX SDR systems for dismounted soldiers and vehicular systems that will be installed onboard a range of combat platforms.

The E-LynX SDR solution that Elbit Systems will provide to the Spanish Army is similar to the solutions that have recently been selected by several other countries, including Switzerland, Sweden and Israel, as the radio solutions for their respective army-wide mobile network modernization programs.

Haim Delmar, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Elbit Systems C4I and Cyber, commented: "We are proud of this prestigious selection … Spain is an important market for Elbit Systems, and we will continue to invest and expand our local capabilities and technologies in Spain."
200 Israelis land in UAE as flydubai plane returns after inaugural Israel flight
A flydubai aircraft landed in Dubai from Tel Aviv on Thursday, with some 200 Israelis on board, for the return leg of the first commercial flight to Israel by the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned airline.

“Welcome to Dubai,” an immigration officer said as the passengers from Israel filed off the plane and into the glitzy Gulf city, some of them waving and giving the peace sign.

An Israeli passenger on the flight said it was a dream come true to enter the United Arab Emirates on an Israeli passport.

“We did it — good evening Dubai! We hope we enjoy it here, visiting for the first time with an Israeli passport,” Liran Shamir and Ren Nagar told Channel 12 news, with one of them — the network didn’t say who — saying they had brought a second foreign passport because they did not believe they would be allowed to enter on their Israeli papers. “There is an excellent attitude here, it’s fun to come. A dream come true.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday welcomed the first commercial Flydubai flight to Israel at Ben Gurion Airport.


Proposed Knesset Law Would Create Memorial Day for Victims of the Spanish Inquisition
A new law proposed to the Israeli Knesset would create an official memorial day for the victims of the Inquisition.

Created by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages to root out heresy, the Inquisition brutally persecuted Spanish Jews who had been forcibly converted to Christianity but continued to practice Judaism in secret, becoming known in Hebrew as Anusim (forced ones).

The law was proposed by Member of Knesset Michal Cotler-Wunsh and would create a Day to Commemorate the Victims of the Inquisition, which would be held on November 1, the date the Spanish Inquisition was formally established in 1478. Co-signatories to the bill include Knesset members from most of Israel’s major parties, including the governing Likud party.

The day will be marked with educational activities that will teach the history of the Spanish crypto-Jews, as well as the mass expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal. Knesset discussions of the issue will also be held.

In addition, the Minister of Diaspora Affairs will host an official state ceremony to mark the occasion.

Cotler-Wunsh said of the proposed law, “This bill will create a day of memory and reminder in the Knesset for us to recognize this tragic event in our collective history and learn from it, in order to ensure ‘never again’ in a world of ‘again and again.’”

“It also provides us with an opportunity to connect with the descendants of those affected by the Spanish Inquisition, in Israel and in the diaspora, based on our shared history and values,” she added.
Israel Marks 12th Anniversary of Mumbai Terror Attacks

100-year-old French man passes away one day after making aliyah
Meir Halimi, a 100-year-old man originating from the French city of Nice, made aliyah on Wednesday and died the day after, according to French Jewish Agency director Arie Abitbol who spoke to Qualita, an organization for French immigrants.

After months of administrative struggle, Abitbol explained, the Jewish Agency French office finally allowed Halimi to make aliyah, accompanied on the plane by his son.

Living in a lonely retirement home, the only dream Meir had was to make aliyah and to spend his last years in Israel. Unfortunately, Meir could only spent his last day as an Israeli citizen.

Less than 24 hours after his arrival, Meir Halimi passed away.

Aliyah has been a serious issue since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

From the moment coronavirus ravaged the planet, more than 2,000 people have made aliyah, according to Nefesh B’ Nefesh, a nonprofit organization that facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel and serves as a liaison between American Jews, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government.

Yael Katsman, a Nefesh B’Nefesh spokesperson, told The Jerusalem Post the pandemic has made people pause and reevaluate their lives.





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