Sunday, March 21, 2021

From Ian:

Will the Exodus story be the next victim of cancel culture?
With Pesach (Holiday of Passover) literally just around the corner, should we be concerned that the story of Exodus may very well be the next victim of “cancel culture”.

The story of Exodus tells of the Jewish nation’s departure from Egypt, the revelations at Mount Sinai, and their wanderings in the desert wilderness for 40 years prior to entering the Land of Israel. The central message of Exodus was that the Jewish nation was delivered from slavery to freedom by God, and therefore became the “Chosen People” by the covenant given to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai.

Early Christians saw the Exodus as a typological prefiguration of resurrection and salvation. The story has also resonated with other non-Jewish groups, such as the early American settlers fleeing persecution in Europe, and African Americans striving for freedom and civil rights. However, this message of liberation from slavery to redemption may very well be nothing more than a hollow manifestation of wishful thinking and a remnant of what was once accepted as progressive thinking.

Today’s progressive movers and shakers, such as Black Lives Matters and their supporters among America’s intelligentsia, academia, and media celebrities, have rendered this interpretation of Exodus no longer valid. With the proliferation of fake news alongside the unparalleled political polarization that has swept America, its makes it nearly impossible to establish an agreed-upon set of historical facts from which to draw conclusions, let alone accept the story of Exodus as a beacon of hope and freedom from slavery.

Current progressive thinking has a wholly different approach and asserts that not only are Jews to be seen as privileged whites, but that being Jewish can be invoked and used to benefit Jews as a way of intensifying someone’s status as being white. This being the case, their argument goes further and claims that essentially Jews have no right to be identified as oppressed and thus cannot claim sympathy for being slaves under Egyptian bondage. Inferred in this interpretation is that Jews should not be viewed in the same way as other minorities who have been freed from slavery. In other words, the Jewish nation's past persecution has been canceled by their present day status as white privileged.
National Review Editorial: Against California’s Ethnic-Studies Curriculum
The proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is probably the most radical, polemical, and ideologically loaded educational document ever offered up for public consideration in the free world. Even after all of the many revisions made to the document, it remains at bottom a political catechism, clearly formulated for the purpose of indoctrinating children into the intersectional electoral priorities of the far Left.

The first draft of the curriculum was so far outside the boundaries of the Overton window in California that it was rejected out of hand by the Board of Education, the governor, and even by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, who ridiculed it as an “impenetrable mélange of academic jargon and politically correct pronouncements.” One of its lesson plans included a list of 154 influential people of color but omitted to mention Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, or even the late congressman John Lewis. Pol Pot, however, the architect of the Cambodian genocide, did make an appearance, alongside other violent revolutionaries.

Antisemitism has also plagued the development of the model curriculum from the start. An early draft listed the anti-Semitic BDS campaign alongside Black Lives Matter and #MeToo as an example of an historic American social movement and also referred to the 1948 Israeli War of Independence only as the “Nakba,” an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe.” Even in the final version of the curriculum, Jews have been relegated to an appendix. Their outsized contribution to American life does not warrant a place in the core content of the course in the eyes of the curriculum’s authors.
Jonathan S. Tobin: The Problem With Ethnic Studies Isn’t Just How It Treats Jews
The trouble with ethnic studies is that even with the more overt symptoms of anti-Jewish prejudice removed, the curriculum is still a political catechism rooted in intersectional ideology about Third World nations and people of color locked in a never-ending struggle against white oppression. The subtext is therefore still one that puts Jews in the unfortunate position of either denying their own “privilege” or being enlisted in a political struggle that has little to do with a celebration of diversity, let alone the manifold blessings of American liberty.

The disturbing aspects of this teaching go beyond the trouble it makes for Jews. After all, in California, students are only required to take three semesters of English and two of math to graduate high school. But while subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, geography, civics, history, and foreign languages are merely optional, this ideologically tainted ethnic studies curriculum will be mandatory. Think about what this means for the future of a country in which important disciplines, including those that were once correctly viewed as essential for an informed citizenry in a democracy, are ditched in favor of lessons about prioritizing race and tearing down the country.

Those who are trying to remind Californians of the struggles and achievements of Jews in America have a good story to tell that is deserving of attention. The same is true of Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, and a host of other groups. But Jewish success in the United States is rooted in the core truths about that so-called “dominant” narrative about the country in which immigrants from a variety of backgrounds joined together to embrace the values and the ideas of the Founding Fathers about political and economic freedom. The same is true for the successes of every other group, including those who were subjected to far worse discrimination than the antisemitism Jews had to face.

By enshrining an ethnic-studies course into law in this manner, California has set up a destructive competition along racial, religious, and ethnic lines that makes race the primary way we all define ourselves rather than as individuals and Americans. It glorifies a struggle for “equity” in which some Americans will get privilege and power based on their group identity, rather than demanding that all are given an equal chance and judged on their own merits.

We should know the stories of all groups that make up the mosaic of American life. But the critical race theory animating this curriculum and other versions of it infiltrating into American society is a poison that undermines national identity and patriotism. Instead of Jews demanding their piece of the ethnic pie and begging that the core ideology of intersectionalism that dismisses them as privileged whites be watered down, we should be rejecting the entire edifice of this deplorable curriculum as something that will hurt all Americans.

What has anyone ever done for the Palestinians? Part 1
The truth is that Israel is and always has been the most pro-Palestinian country in the world.

How so? Three indicators, taken together, reflect a genuinely strong pro-Palestinian position. These are:
1. a consistent commitment for Palestinians to have a workable state of their own,
2. a profound concern for Palestinian health and welfare, and
3. the taking of significant risks to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

First, self-determination: realising this universal principle for both Israelis and Palestinians need not be a zero-sum game. Only Israel has taken concrete steps on this path towards, in today’s jargon, Two States for Two Peoples (2S2P).

The Zionist push for self-determination for the Arabs of Palestine began in 1919 with the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement. Both Jews and Arabs were outraged by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement that had been struck between Britain and France in 1916 to divide up between them the spoils of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. Although the Balfour Declaration the following year boosted Zionist hopes of Jewish statehood, Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, understood that the Arabs were equally deserving of sovereignty and strained every sinew to generate a mutually supportive united Jewish-Arab front in the face of Great Power perfidy. King Faisal initially agreed but then recanted.

That didn’t deter Weizmann, who accepted (reluctantly) the lopping off of 78 per cent of the Jewish National Home (Mandatory Palestine) to create an Arab state, Transjordan, in 1922. A further partition of the remainder of Palestine, as proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937, would have reduced the Jewish state to an even tinier rump but the Zionist leadership acquiesced in the interests of 2S2P. Ten years later, they accepted the UN partition plan that deprived the Jewish people of Zion (Jerusalem) and their historical heartlands of Judea and Samaria (annexed by Jordan and renamed the West Bank). So it continued to the present day – attempt after attempt to apply the magic 2S2P formula was frustrated by Arab rejectionism.
What has anyone ever done for the Palestinians? Part 2
Instead of being challenged on their delusional and self-defeating intransigence, President Abbas and his colleagues are cheered to the rafters by the Arab League, the UN, numerous governments, “human rights” NGOs, academics, clerics and journalists. How can a posture that leads up a permanent political cul-de-sac conceivably be interpreted as “pro-Palestinian”?

And what have self-proclaimed “pro-Palestinian” governments and activists around the world actually done to alleviate the plight of the Palestinians? Here’s a sample of their contribution to date: goading the Arabs into an unnecessary war against Israel in 1947 that caused the Palestinian refugee problem (the Naqba); hijacking the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (that was established as a temporary humanitarian relief agency) to weaponise the refugees as a permanent and ever-enlarging incubator of Jew-hating terrorists; turning a blind eye to the denial of civil rights for Palestinians living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere; expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Kuwait after the Gulf War in 1991; ignoring Assad’s murder of around 4,000 Palestinians during the Syrian civil war; enabling the fanatical Iranian mullahs to pour billions of dollars into the coffers of their genocidal twin offspring, Hamas and Hezbollah; and promoting the anti-Semitic BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in a futile addendum to the failed military and terrorist campaigns. In what parallel universe can any of that be viewed as “pro-Palestinian”?

The Palestinian leadership, along with their many friends in the Arab League and the international community, have repeatedly betrayed the Palestinians by espousing or at least acquiescing in violent rejectionism and trumpeting a fictional and unattainable Right of Return. And most so-called “pro-Palestinians” abroad have done absolutely nothing to meet the needs of the Palestinians. They have instead ruthlessly exploited them, wittingly or otherwise, as a front for anti-Israelism (or “anti-Zionism”) and anti-Semitism.

To suggest that Israel has done incomparably more for the Palestinians than the Palestinians’ own leaders might appear to contradict common sense. Yet it is the case. Einstein (allegedly) thought that “common sense” amounted to “the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen”. In the world’s perception of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, prejudice trumps evidence to such a degree that it may take a genius of Einsteinian stature to remove it.

With most adults vaccinated, Israel’s large inoculation centers start to close
With the vast majority of Israelis age 16 and up already vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, big vaccination centers in the country’s main cities have started to close as the focus shifts to smaller, mobile stations in smaller communities.

More than 5.1 million of Israel’s 9.3 million population have received at least one vaccine dose, and over 4.5 million have gotten both shots.

With at least 3 million others unable to get inoculated since they are under the age of 16, the vaccination pace has slowed down dramatically since those who want to get vaccinated have mostly already done so.

A massive vaccination center at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square has been taken down, with works on a planned light rail planned to begin there next month, the Globes business daily reported.

The huge tent complex run by the municipality along with the city’s Ichilov hospital has been used by the Maccabi and Meuhedet health providers to inoculate many thousands of residents.

Another big center at a stadium in northern Tel Aviv is also being closed down, as sports events are slowly returning.

It wasn’t immediately clear what would be done with the large vaccination centers set up in Jerusalem.

Health providers will now give vaccines in some of their existing clinics.
Coronavirus in Israel: Under 300 new cases, 1.7% of tests return positive
Israel is not going to experience another wave, Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash said Sunday, as the number of cases dropped below 300, the lowest level since October.

“I’m glad to see a decline in all indices,” Ash said in a press briefing. “I want to remind everyone that we have not yet reached the low numbers that we registered between the second and third waves, so there is still a long way to go. However, the encouraging detail is that the decrease is happening despite a wide opening of the economy which occurred about two weeks ago as the third stage of the exit strategy from the lockdown began.”

Some 285 new cases of the novel coronavirus were identified on Saturday, with only 1.7% of tests returned positive, the Health Ministry reported.

While the amount of tests administered on Saturdays is consistently lower than on other weekdays, the decrease remains meaningful as on the previous Saturday some 783 cases were reported and on the one before that some 1,878. The last time Israel registered such a low number of cases was once again on a Saturday, but in October.

The R rate, or reproduction rate, also continued to decrease, standing at 0.62. The figure reflects how many people each coronavirus carrier infects on average. When the number is lower than 0.8 the disease is considered to be receding. Experts have been closely monitoring the rate, to see how lifting restrictions has impacted the ability of the disease to infect. While currently the vast majority of activities have resumed for at least two weeks, the R is steadily going down.

Failure to stop Iran's terror support might lead to Israel-Hezbollah war
The main threat to the Abraham Accords bloc now could come due to tensions between Washington and Riyadh, which was the main silent partner enabling Israeli-Gulf relations.

Iran meanwhile is actively working to beef up the terrorist-military channels that it has built throughout the Middle East, leading the entire area into an escalatory dynamic. Nevertheless, most decisions are still being made in the political-diplomatic sphere, with all sides complimenting their postures with cyberattacks and other low signature activities. All sides are keen to avoid pressing the “escalation button” too soon.

Iran however may choose to escalate significantly after a new nuclear agreement is reached, and such a development could certainly ignite the region.

Washington must take into consideration the core interests of its allies, Israel and the Gulf states, who in the meantime are setting up their own independent capabilities for taking on the Iranian nuclear threat. These efforts could in future take individual-state form, or be coordinated under the framework of an alliance.

As a result, no one should be surprised if local military solutions surface as being highly realistic options to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.

Ultimately, Washington should view the spread of the Shi’ite axis, its weapons proliferation, and proxy consolidation program, as being inseparable from the nuclear deal.

The Iranians have proven and continue to prove that despite severe pressure from multiple directions – the pandemic and economic distress – their scheme to expand terror tentacles and their murderous radical ideology will not stop even for a second.

Only a combination of a firm stance in negotiations, the listing of conditions, a show of force and leaving space for maneuver will pave the path to a contraction of Iran’s nuclear program and a curtailment of its regional activities. A US failure on these counts could well lead Israel to consider a variety of operations against Iran and its militias, including the option of launching a preventive offensive against Hezbollah.
The New York Times Proposes Israel Become Bi-national State
Newly minted The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Patrick Kingsley has effectively called for the replacement of Israel with a bi-national state. In his latest article — Palestinians and Israelis Both Vote Soon. The Differences Are Stark. — Kingsley not only conflates the democratic process in Israel with the authoritarianism that pervades the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but goes so far as to insinuate that Palestinians should have the right to vote in the March 23 Israeli national elections.

Putting aside for a moment the dystopian scenario of Hamas supporters casting ballots for any individual with direct influence over Israeli policy, Kingsley himself suggests that Palestinians are more acutely focused on having their voices heard at internal polling stations for the first time over 15 years:
Many of those eager to vote in May were too young to vote in the last election, and dream of a new and more competent Palestinian leadership with a clearer idea of how to achieve statehood. More than 93 percent of Palestinians have already registered to vote, a fact that analysts say illustrates an initial enthusiasm for the process.

Given the “initial enthusiasm” among Palestinians, it is seemingly clear that they have had their fill with the kleptocratic Palestinian Authority government and the destructive “leadership” of Hamas. And as it relates to achieving statehood, Kingsley might have quoted a Palestinian youth calling for the next batch of elected officials to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.

Indeed, this would almost undoubtedly require a changing of the guard given that both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas turned down comprehensive peace offers from Israel in 2000 and 2008, respectively, and that the days when the Palestinians can adhere without consequences to maximalist positions are basically over given Israeli demographic and electoral shifts combined with rapidly changing regional dynamics.

Nor is there any overt reason for optimism.
…If they go ahead, the May 22 elections would elect a Palestinian legislative council that might — in a best-case scenario — pave the way for a reunification of Gaza and parts of the West Bank — which have been run separately since the 2007 split — under one governing body.

The “split” Kingsley is referring to is the Palestinian internecine war — perhaps best remembered for images of Hamas members throwing Fatah officials off rooftops — that resulted in the ouster of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and most of his allies from Gaza. This, in turn, was precipitated by Hamas’ landslide victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, in which the US-designated terrorist organization garnered 74 seats to Fatah’s 45 in the since-then virtually defunct 132-member parliament.
Israel's election is heading toward a deadlock, final polls predict
The final polls conducted until the Friday before Election Day on Tuesday, March 23, all suggested continued political deadlock, as neither the anti- nor the pro-Netanyahu blocs are expected to receive 61 seats in order to form a government.

Naftali Bennett's Yamina Party, however, which is currently not committed to either bloc, could give the anti-Netanyahu parties a coalition. The final poll broadcasted by KAN Channel 11 gave Netanyahu's Likud Party 31 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 19 seats, New Hope and Yamina tied for the third largest party with nine seats each, and the Joint List is stable at eight. The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party also has eight, while United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Yisrael Beytenu have seven seats each.

Labor and the Religious Zionist Party received five seats each, while Blue and White, Meretz and Ra'am crossed the electoral threshold with four seats each.

According to Channel 11's poll, the anti-Netanyahu bloc would have 56 seats, while the pro-Netanyahu bloc would receive 51 seats. Yamina and Ra'am, which have both not declared support for either bloc, hold the balance of power. Yamina's nine seats could give the anti-Netanyahu bloc a coalition, and together with Ra'am, they could both give one to the pro bloc.

CBC Deletes Israel Location From Dead Sea Scrolls Discovery
On March 18, HonestReporting Canada filed a complaint with CBC News after their editors purposefully deleted the Israel location from its headline and reporting in coverage of the recent Dead Sea Scrolls discovery in Israel proper.

Importantly, the new set of Dead Sea Scrolls were not found in the West Bank, but in sovereign territory that has been Israel’s since the country’s birth in 1948.

The new scrolls were found in the “Cave of Horror” which is in the Judean Desert’s Nahal Hever near Ein Gedi, and within Israel’s pre-1967 armistice boundary or what is referred to as the “green line”. South of the armistice line is territory controlled by Israel since 1948 which was ratified by the armistice agreement in 1949. See map below.

The CBC’s headline on March 16 used to be: “New Dead Sea scrolls found in desert cave in Israel,” editors then changed the located to the “West Bank” and now it says “Judean Desert” per screen grabs below:
NBC Corrects Dead Sea Scrolls Found in Israel, Not West Bank
CAMERA’s Israel office on Thursday (March 18) prompted correction of an NBC story which erroneously stated that newly uncovered Dead Sea Scrolls had been found in the West Bank. In fact, they were not found in the West Bank, but within Israel’s pre-1967 armistice line, or “Green Line.”

The March 16 article by Patrick Smith, “Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries are first ancient Bible texts to be found in 60 years,” initially began by incorrectly reporting: “A new set of Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient fragments of biblical texts dating back almost 2,000 years and thought to have been hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome, have been found in the West Bank.”

But as Smith himself rightly noted many paragraphs later in the article:
The treasures were found in what the Antiquities Authority called the “Cave of Horror” in the Judean Desert, which was discovered in 2017.

The “Cave of Horror” is located in the Nahal Hever wadi in Israel, within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries. It is not beyond the so-called Green Line, which is the 1949 armistice line which separates Israel from the West Bank.

CAMERA’s Israel office contacted standards editors and another senior NBC editor about the error. In response, NBC thanked CAMERA and amended the text to correctly report: “A new set ofDead Sea Scrolls, ancient fragments of biblical texts dating back almost 2,000 years and thought to have been hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome, have been found in an Israeli desert.”
Reviewing a decade of BBC reporting on Syria
A decade of BBC reporting on the civil war in Syria has produced some memorable moments such as the time in 2014 when ‘Newsnight’ relocated that country to Jordan or when Kevin Connolly passed off British-built structures as “relics of the fighting in 1967 and in 1973 when Syria tried and failed to win back the land it lost”.

On a more serious note, in early 2013 BBC journalist Wyre Davies speculated that an Israeli report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria was designed to pressure the US into taking action. Four years later the BBC’s Middle East editor promoted a “theory” of his own concerning a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.

The BBC’s coverage of such attacks – particularly during 2017 and 2018 – regularly amplified what was known to be Syrian regime and Russian propaganda such as in this example from April 2017.
Holocaust denial was already taking root in Britain during WWII, says UK author
In the grim search by historians and academics to pinpoint the first examples of postwar Holocaust denial, the finger of blame is most often pointed at fascists, anti-Semites and far-right figures in France, Sweden and the United States.

However, argues a new book, this misses the pivotal role played by Nazi sympathizers in Britain, both during World War II and in its immediate aftermath, in developing a “blueprint” that has been drawn on ever since by those who seek to deny history’s greatest crime.

“The truth is that Holocaust denial in its traditional form began not in France or America, as most have argued, but actually in Britain,” says Dr. Joe Mulhall, author of “British Fascism After the Holocaust: From the Birth of Denial to the Notting Hill Riots 1939-1958.”

Mulhall, senior researcher at the UK anti-fascism campaign group Hope Not Hate, identifies the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley as a central player in the emergence of Holocaust denial in postwar Europe.

As the book details, the French fascist Maurice Bardèche, his compatriots Paul Rassinier and Prof. René Fabre, and the veteran Swedish anti-Semite Einar Åberg are among those who have been awarded “the ignoble distinction of being the first person to maliciously deny the validity and uniqueness of Nazi war crimes.” By contrast, in the words of one historian, early Holocaust denial in Britain is viewed as “a pale reflection” of that propagated in countries such as France.

“While there is no solid consensus among historians as to who was the first true Holocaust denier,” writes Mulhall, a common thread is to “ignore or overlook early British deniers.”
Urgent appeal for witnesses after pregnant Jewish woman rushed to hospital after being stalked, suffocated and viciously punched
A pregnant Jewish woman has reportedly been rushed to hospital after being stalked, suffocated and viciously punched.

The attack took place on Manor Road in Stamford Hill at 18:30 on 19th March and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.

Shomrim and the police are urgently appealing for witnesses.

If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD8195 18/03/21.

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
Shenley Parish Council Zoombombed with atrocious “Burn the Jews” comment
A Shenley Parish Council meeting was interrupted with an atrocious antisemitic comment.

A participant at the Zoom meeting on 16th March commented in capital letters in the chat: “Burn the Jews”. The attendee, thought to have logged in under a pseudonym, was immediately removed from the meeting.

The incident was reportedly witnessed by nearly 80 people, including councillors, the clerk and the Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, as well as members of the public.

The Chairman of the Council, who was speaking at the time that the comment was posted, said: “We take pride in Shenley being a friendly, welcoming and inclusive community. I was shocked when the meeting was interrupted by this vile individual spouting such religious and antisemitic hatred. Ironically, this came after the meeting was opened by Reverend Daniel McCarthy who had addressed the community with a message of peace and loving kindness, urging us to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Police are investigating an incident of malicious communications and hate crime in Shenley. It was reported that between 7pm and 7.30pm last night (Tuesday 16th March) an antisemitic comment was made on a text chat during an online Shenley Parish Council meeting. Any report to police will be taken seriously and dealt with sensitively.”
Israel launches 2-year pilot, preparing the sky for network of delivery drones
In a field in the forest near the northern city of Hadera, flags were blowing in the wind on a sunny day last week, with a gaggle of people — regulators, drone techies and journalists — waiting to observe a demonstration of drones flying together safely in a shared airspace.

The show, the first of its kind in Israel and one of the first globally, is part of a two-year pilot project after which Israel hopes to see drones safely whizzing around its skies delivering everything from medicine to hamburgers to clothes.

But to get to that scenario — a national network of drone deliveries — regulation is needed and officials must learn what needs to be done to prevent accidents, injuries and privacy intrusions. The pilot project aims to help stakeholders understand what our skies will look like in the future as hundreds and thousands of drones pepper our firmament to fulfill various needs.

“This is one of the most progressive experiments in the world, in which drones from many companies are flying in an open and not controlled area,” said Daniella Partem, head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the Israel Innovation Authority, which is in charge of fostering the nation’s tech ecosystem.

The pilot, which will see hundreds of drones from a variety of firms test out their technologies in different sections of the new “playground” in the air over the next two years, was set up by the Innovation Authority together with Transportation Ministry, the Israel Aviation Authority, the Ayalon Highways Co. and the Prime Minister’s Office.
400-year-old Torah ark fully restored by Vercelli Jewish community
As the latest of a number of Jewish heritage projects coordinated by the Vercelli Jewish community in recent years, a 400-year-old wooden Aron Kodesh (Torah scroll ark) has been fully restored and will be installed in a prominent place in the city's grand synagogue, the Jewish Heritage Europe website reported.

The Moorish-style synagogue, built in the northwest Italian city in 1878, is currently closed because of COVID-19 restrictions. The Vercelli Jewish community hopes to hold an inauguration of the ark in May or June.

The €50,000 restoration of the ark was funded by three bank foundations: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Vercelli and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino and the Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.

“In the year of ‘lockdowns,’ and despite the delays, the community has now taken back a precious witness of its history and culture,” the Jewish community said in a statement.

The baroque-style ark is said to date back to 1600, well before the imposition of the Vercelli ghetto in the 1720s, as a resident Jewish community had been living in the city since the early 15th century, according to the current Jewish community.

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