Sunday, January 16, 2022

From Ian:

Yes, the Colleyville synagogue attack was 'specifically' targeting Jews
Soon after the FBI freed four hostages held by a gunman for 11 hours at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office Matthew Desarno made a truly baffling statement.

“We do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community, but we are continuing to work to find motive,” Desarno said.

The idea that any attack on a synagogue is “not specifically related to the Jewish community” is absurd enough.

Even with the broadest definition of who is considered Jewish, Jews make up only 2.4% of all American adults, and only 0.6% of the population of Texas. It beggars belief, in most cases and in this one in particular, that someone outside the densest Jewish populations in America would have randomly stumbled upon a synagogue while looking for people to hold hostage.

Add to that the fact that the gunman entered Congregation Beth Israel on a Saturday morning, when Shabbat services are held. The timing was clearly intentional.Law enforcement vehicles are seen in the area where a man has reportedly taken people hostage at a synagogue during services that were being streamed live, in Colleyville, Texas, US, January 15, 2022.

But the specifics of this crime also show a deep current of antisemitism running through the “one issue” on which the hostage-taker was “singularly focused.”

Perhaps at first glance, that issue, the release of Aafia Siddiqui, currently serving an 86-year prison sentence for attempting to murder American troops and FBI agents, does not seem to be “specifically related to the Jewish community.” But Siddiqui was a raving antisemite, and that information is readily available.

The gunman said Siddiqui was his “sister” – though apparently in ideology and not in the literal sense – and that they would meet in “Jannah,” meaning paradise, after he dies.


‘Calm, collected’ synagogue rabbi wowed FBI through 10-hour Texas hostage crisis
Local and federal law enforcement credited Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker’s “calm and collected” demeanor for helping bring about a miraculous end to the ten-hour hostage crisis at his northern Texas synagogue on Saturday night.

Cytron-Walker and the three other worshipers who made it to Sabbath morning services in the quiet town of Colleyville surely felt the main risk they were taking by attending involved being present at at an indoor, mid-Omicron gathering.

But that became the least of their worries when a suspect burst into Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) and proceeded to hold the four Jewish worshipers captive, apparently at gunpoint, for the remainder of the day.

While the first three hours of the ordeal were eerily streamed on Facebook Live — as Sabbath services are every week at CBI — details of what unfolded, and why, remained somewhat limited in the first hours after the safe release of the hostages.

What was clear to law enforcement, though, was the critical role that Cytron-Walker played in the way the harrowing day played out.

Local and federal law enforcement at the scene “were really so impressed and genuinely appreciative of how calm and collected Rabbi Charlie was, keeping order and everybody’s wits about them,” Dallas police chaplain Andrew Marc Paley told The Times of Israel in an interview shortly after the hostage release.
'I am grateful to be alive,' says Colleyville rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker
On Saturday, four people were held hostage inside a Reform synagogue in Texas by a man demanding that a known terrorist be released from prison.

After 11 hours, they were freed. One of them was the rabbi of said Beth Israel synagogue, Charlie Cytron-Walker, a man known for his long history of giving and charitable work.

"I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all of the vigils and prayers and love and support, all of the law enforcement and first responders who cared for us, all of the security training that helped save us," Cytron-Walker wrote on Facebook. "I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for the CBI Community, the Jewish Community, the Human Community. I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive."

The rabbi is a married father of two who began to work as the rabbi of the synagogue in 2006. Congregation Beth Israel was founded in 1998 as an informal community in a rapidly growing suburb of Fort Worth, located just miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Cytron-Walker was its first full-time rabbi.

Originally from Michigan, Cytron-Walker and his family belonged to Congregation Shaarey Zedek in East Lansing. He was president of both Lansing’s temple youth group and the National Federation of Temple Youth’s Michigan region while in high school Cytron-Walker graduated from the University of Michigan in 1998 where he met his wife, Adena, when they were both students. Adena is a vice president of a diversity-focused Fort Worth organization.


UK citizen Malik Faisal Akram named as synagogue hostage taker
Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, was named as the hostage taker in the Saturday incident at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced on Sunday.
All hostages 'out alive and safe' from Texas synagogue, subject dead
All hostages were rescued at Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, where authorities said an armed man had them trapped for roughly half the day on Saturday, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

The governor announced the rescue, which involved roughly 60 to 70 officials from Washington, D.C., after reporters on the scene said they heard a loud explosion. The four "unharmed" hostages, all of whom are adults, are "not in need of medical attention," officials said at a press conference at 10:15 p.m. local time.

"Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe," Abbott said in a tweet.

The subject, whom investigators believe was "singularly focused on one issue" that was "not specifically related to the Jewish community," is now dead, an official said at the press conference. The subject's identity will not be released as his motive continues to be investigated, officials said.

Earlier in the day, one male hostage was released uninjured, police confirmed. The identity of the man was not revealed, and he did not require medical attention, officials said.

Authorities had responded to the area, and the Colleyville Police Department tweeted it was evacuating the surrounding area after it was reported an armed man was holding a rabbi and at least three others hostage and demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence for the attempted murder of a U.S. soldier.

The man was heard saying he was the brother of Siddiqui, but Muhammad Siddiqui, the biological brother of Aafia Siddiqui, is not the man holding the congregants hostage, his lawyer told the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The man could be heard yelling during a livestream of the service, which was reportedly in celebration of a bar mitzvah, on Facebook, Jessika Harkay, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, tweeted. The livestream is no longer shown on the synagogue's Facebook page.


Texas synagogue: Hostages released, captor dead
i24NEWSDesk Anchor Allec Pollard spoke with i24NEWS US Senior Correspondent Mike Wagenheim and with Rabbi Levy Gurevich from Chabad of Southlake, Texas.

It is not clear whether the captor was killed by law enforcement or if he died by suicide

All remaining hostages held at a synagogue in Texas were rescued Saturday night following an intense 12-hour standoff between police and the captor, who disrupted a religious service that morning.

A hostage rescue team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) breached the synagogue and secured the hostages in the city of Colleyville, west of Dallas.


‘We Are a Strong Community’: Congregations, US Jewish Groups Voice Solidarity With Texas Synagogue
American Jewish groups and congregations on Saturday expressed deep concern and called for focused attention on threats to Jewish houses of worship as authorities continued to monitor an active hostage situation at a Reform synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

“We pray for the safety of those inside Congregation Beth Israel, as well as the members of law enforcement responding at the scene,” the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations said. “Collectively, we must spare no effort to ensure that American Jews are safe in their houses of worship and community centers.”

The Colleyville Police Department said it responded to an emergency call at Congregation Beth Israel at 10:41 a.m., after a man interrupted a virtual Shabbat service.

More than six hours into the standoff, police said FBI negotiators remained in contact with the hostage taker — who was reportedly demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a woman serving an 86-year US prison sentence in the nearby Fort Worth area for a 2010 conviction for shooting at soldiers and FBI agents.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt emphasized that Siddiqui had been “open and explicit in her antisemitism,” and noted that “Islamic terrorist groups, including ISIS, have attempted to exchange hostages for her release.

“Unfortunately, the crisis in Colleyville is just the latest event to show that being on edge and being vigilant is now very much part of the American Jewish experience,” he said in a statement Saturday evening.
Jewish orgs. urge Congress to increase security grants after Colleyville
Following the horrific attack at Beth Israel synagogue, Jewish organizations urged Congress to double the funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The project's current budget is $180 million annually, and Jewish organizations are asking to bring it to $360 million.

The program allows houses of worship and other nonprofits at risk to apply for grants of up to $100 thousand for each institute. The money can be used for security measures such as fencing, cameras, stronger doors, and the hiring of security personnel.

In recent years, the program’s budget was increased several times due to the rise in antisemitism across the US. In 2019, Congress approved raising the security grants by 50% from $60 million to $90 million. After the antisemitic attack in Monsey, then-Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said he’d promote a move to quadruple the NSGP from $90 million to $360 million a year.

So far, Congress doubled the budget of the NSGP from $90 million to $180 million. Several Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Secure Community Network (SCN) argued that this funding level is insufficient in light of the high level of threat against Jewish institutions. For some organizations, increasing funding is a top priority for the 2022 legislative agenda.

“In the last 24 hours, we saw an individual reportedly armed who alleged to have explosives breached the sanctity of one of our houses of worship,” said Michael Masters, CEO and national director of SCN. “We should act now to protect our sacred spaces,” he said. “We are thankful to Congress for their support in protecting our community, and we look forward to working with them to increase the investment as we work to increase the security of our institutions.”
'This is part of a pattern taking place in the US over the last five years,' says Marc Shulman
Texas Jewish Community shaken up by hostage situation. Interview and analysis by Newsweek Editor & Columnist, Marc Schulman.

It is not clear whether the captor was killed by law enforcement or if he died by suicide

All remaining hostages held at a synagogue in Texas were rescued Saturday night following an intense 12-hour standoff between police and the captor, who disrupted a religious service that morning.

A hostage rescue team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) breached the synagogue and secured the hostages in the city of Colleyville, west of Dallas.


UK government confirms Texas synagogue attacker was a British citizen
A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office confirmed on Sunday that the man who took congregants hostage inside a Texas synagogue a day earlier was a UK citizen.

The spokesperson said that UK government officials were “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”

The attacker, who has not been publicly named, died in the rescue operation. It is still unclear if he was killed by law enforcement officials or died by suicide.

All four hostages were ultimately freed unharmed after a 10-hour standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in the city of Colleyville that began Saturday morning.

Matthew DeSarno, the special agent in charge of FBI Dallas, told reporters at a press conference on Saturday evening that the agency’s investigation “will have global reach.”

DeSarno also said that the FBI had already been in contact with global law enforcement officials “to include Tel Aviv and London.” He noted on Saturday that law enforcement had determined the identity of the hostage-taker but was not prepared to divulge it at this time.
Meet 'Lady Al-Qaeda' Aafia Siddiqui, who Texas gunman demanded be freed
Khan suspected Siddiqui had become involved with extremist groups, and she married suspected al-Qaeda member Ammar al-Baluchi in 2003. Baluchi is a nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), according to the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The US government alleged that Siddiqui was involved in a plot by an al-Qaeda cell to commit attacks in the US, the UK and Pakistan. The cell, led by KSM, planned to sabotage gas stations and underground storage tanks and poison or destroy water-treatment facilities, Scroggins wrote. When Siddiqui disappeared with her children on what she claimed was a trip to Islamabad, the FBI released a “worldwide alert” for her and Khan, according to Scroggins and the BBC.

In 2004, then-attorney-general John Ashcroft said Siddiqui was one of the suspects on the FBI’s list of the seven most-wanted al-Qaeda fugitives and was a “clear and present danger to the US,” Scroggins and The Los Angeles Times wrote.

Siddiqui was later arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, by US Army troops and FBI agents. During her questioning, Siddiqui allegedly picked up one of the soldiers’ rifles and fired two shots at them, shouting “Allah Akbar,” The New York Times reported. The soldiers successfully disarmed her.
Seth Frantzman: The long jihadist-extremist quest to free Aafia Siddiqui
According to a local CBS affiliate, when she was convicted, “Pakistani officials immediately decried the punishment, which prompted protests in multiple cities and criticism in the media. The prime minister at the time, Yousuf Raza Gilani, called her the ‘daughter of the nation’ and vowed to campaign for her release from jail. In the years since, Pakistani leaders have openly floated the idea of swaps or deals that could result in her release.”

The attack on the synagogue may now once again raise attention for her case. Supporters portray her as innocent “Dr. Aafia,” who was caught up in the “war on terror.” Claims of “renditions” and other incidents are then put into the story.

Her case is presented as one of “injustice,” and it has linked some left-leaning “peace” groups and far-right Islamist groups, as well as groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan’s far-right government, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Nusra Front and a gamut of others.

It’s one of those bizarre cases that reveal the whole history of extremism in a nutshell and the attempt by extremists to hijack “human rights” as part of their agenda. It also reveals how much privilege extremists have when they can come to the US or spend decades in the US and then become radicalized against the very country that gave them freedom.

It’s not the only case like this. Anwar al-Awlaki, another privileged son raised in the US to a family from Yemen, grew up in New Mexico. His father served as agriculture minister in Yemen. Awlaki took his privilege and turned it against the US, eventually dying in a drone strike in Yemen after radicalizing numerous Americans.

There is also Hoda Muthana, born to a Yemen diplomat who later joined ISIS and recently had her appeal to return to a privileged life in the US denied.
Seth Frantzman: Officials are afraid to say 'antisemitism' when Jews are targeted
In all these cases and many more there is a clear trend: Groups and individuals push antisemitic views as part of a wider world view. These views percolate around so that people who become radicalized may hold both extremist anti-Jewish views and also claim to be part of some other agenda or movement, such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, Pakistan-based terrorist groups that attack India, “Palestine” supporters or some other cause.

It’s not unusual to see leaders of countries such as Pakistan draw parallels between their anger at European countries for anti-Muslim cartoons and denying the Holocaust, as if Holocaust denial somehow is a way to offend Europeans and “get back” at them for cartoons.

The leader of Pakistan made this comparison in 2021. “[I] call on Western governments who have outlawed any negative comment on the holocaust to use the same standards to penalize those deliberately spreading their message of hate against Muslims by abusing our Prophet,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.

Iran held a cartoon contest several times to mock the Holocaust as a way to get back at European countries for cartoons. In essence, “the Jews” become the natural scapegoat and victim in each of these cases.

When Iran is angry over offensive cartoons in Europe, it attacks the memory of the Shoah and Jews. When Pakistan is angry, it attacks Jews. When al-Qaeda is angry, it targets Jews. When ISIS is radicalizing people, it encourages attacks on Jewish targets. When countries or groups want to insult each other in the Middle East, they compare their enemies to Jews.

“Jew” is a word of derision, an insult. That extremists then target kosher delis, synagogues, schools and Jews throughout the world, from India to the US, is part of this milieu.


Biden: 'We will stand against antisemitism' amid Colleyville, Texas standoff
US President Joe Biden as well as other elected officials both in the US and in Israel reacted on Sunday morning to the release of four hostages held at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.

“Thanks to the courageous work of state, local and federal law enforcement, four Americans who were held hostage at a Texas synagogue will soon be home with their families,“ US President Joe Biden said in a statement. “I am grateful to the tireless work of law enforcement at all levels who acted cooperatively and fearlessly to rescue the hostages. We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community,“ the statement reads.

“There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage-taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate—we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country,“ Biden added. “That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud.“

Israel's Ambassador in Washington, Mike Herzog, tweeted that he was grateful that the hostages were rescued and returned to their loved ones. “This horrific incident is a reminder that the threat of antisemitism is ever-present. Jews should not be afraid to pray in their synagogues,“ he wrote.

“Thank you to all the local and federal law enforcement and first responders who were on the scene and helped prevent a tragedy this Shabbat,“ Herzog added. “We will continue to stand with the Texas Jewish community and against every form of hatred.“

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement, praising Texas law enforcement and the FBI “for their work in ending the tense hostage situation in Colleyville and for the safe return of the hostages to their families.”


New NY bill would force divestment from companies that boycott Israel
A bill making its way through the state Senate would prohibit New York State from contracting with corporations boycotting Israel.

“BDS as we know it is an orchestrated movement to weaken and delegitimize Israel,” the bill’s sponsor, Long Island Sen. Anna Kaplan, told The Post, referring to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for institutions to divest from Israel.

“It is really important that we send a very strong message that New York stands with Israel and supports Israel, as we have done for decades.”

New York already has an anti-BDS policy as a result of a 2016 Executive Order issued by former Gov. Cuomo.

After Ben & Jerry’s moved to stop selling their ice cream in parts of Israel, the state pension fund removed more than $100 million in investments from parent company Unilever.

Kaplan says it’s important to upgrade the order to actual statute.

“This bill is really important because it codifies the state’s anti BDS rules into law,” she said.


Israeli jets fly alongside AFCENT jets in 'Desert Falcon'
Israeli Air Force pilots flew alongside their counterparts from the United States Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) in a joint training exercise dubbed Desert Falcon, simulating airstrikes and dog fights.

The drill saw the IAF’s 119th Bat Squadron that flies F-16I fighter jets along with the 122nd Nachson intelligence-gathering Gulfstream G550 fly alongside American F-16 jets from the 55th Fighter Squadron against the IAF’s 115th “Red Squadron” that simulated enemy jets and helicopters.

The drill took place out of the IAF’s Ovda Airbase and saw the jets flying mostly over Israel’s Negev desert.

“The Israeli air teams flew ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with American teams and simulated joint responses to aerial threats and strikes on targets, through education, cooperation, and mutual growth,” the IDF said in a statement that was released on Sunday.

“The exercise represents an important milestone in the strengthening of international-strategic cooperation between Israel and the American air force, and it contributes to the readiness of our forces,” it added.
Seth Frantzman: Would Israeli gas really help Lebanon keep Iran out?
A report on Saturday claimed that Israel may supply natural gas to Lebanon through Jordan. The report was on Israel’s Channel 12 and claimed this high-level deal was supported by the US and that it was “secret.” Russia also apparently had a say because the gas might go via Jordan through Syria to Lebanon. This could empower the Syrian regime and also empower Hezbollah in a roundabout way. Whether this might also stabilize the region, tying Lebanon into Syria and Jordan and thus reduce chances for more conflict, is another question.

The story of the US scrambling to find a way to help Lebanon stave off its roller-coaster energy financial crisis by bringing in gas and energy sources from somewhere has been around for months. We reported about how Syria was trying to position itself as an energy broker for Lebanon in September. That Israel might be involved is a new detail, but not necessarily surprising considering Israel is a competent country in the energy sector.

The real question is who benefits here. The Syrian regime apparently benefits from any deal that sees gas from Egypt and Jordan flowing through Syria to Lebanon. This is because it will get new credit from the US, and international community. Not only will it have its hand on the spigot but it can also pose as being a normal member of the international community, despite being under US sanctions. It will now be able to divert that gas for its own needs. Anyone who sits astride a gas or energy route gets to use it. Russia knows how to use energy and pipelines as a tool. Surely Russia can advise the Syrian regime on this element of how being a gas provider can work to Damascus benefit. Even though Syria is merely a transit country, this would benefit the regime.

If, however, gas were to arrive in Lebanon from other ways and methods perhaps the Syrian regime would not benefit. However, the overall story of how this has been played by Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon is quite brilliant. Iran had suggested it could save Lebanon by putting energy and gas into the hands of Hezbollah, thus making Hezbollah now the all-powerful energy provider for the Lebanese. This would increase the terrorist group’s stranglehold. As such the US seems to be bidding for influence. But it’s not entirely clear if an alternative source of energy for Lebanon outside of the direct control of Hezbollah and Iran doesn’t also benefit Hezbollah and Iran. The Lebanese economy is in shambles, which looks bad for Iran because it shows an Iranian-occupied system is one of bankruptcy. But saving Lebanon there is no doubt that Hezbollah will benefit and divert resources to other nefarious activities. In short, if Lebanon can have the burden of being responsible for the energy crisis reduced, through the US brokering energy deals, then the west will empower Hezbollah by giving it the freedom to do other things.
Report: Israel to supply gas to Lebanon
i24NEWS Senior International Affairs Correspondent Owen Alterman reports with the latest.

The US-brokered move is understood to be aimed at minimizing Lebanon's dependence on Iran

Israel will supply natural gas to Lebanon in a US-brokered deal intended to minimize Iranian hold over the impoverished and crisis-stricken country, the Hebrew-language Channel 12 News reported.


They're cute and they're coming to kill you: 'Killer Zionist dolphins'
A report by i24NEWS Correspondent Ariel Levin Waldman.

Israel has long been accused by its neighbors of using animals for espionage or other military purposes

A representative of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades claimed in a video on Monday that the militant group discovered a dolphin allegedly trained by Israel’s military to pursue its naval forces, according to reports from Palestinian media outlets.

The spokesperson said that the dolphin was also equipped with a device, which was shown later on in the footage.


PMW: Palestinians reinvent Jesus in their own image - as a terrorist
The PA uses many euphemisms and terms to refer to terrorists, and they are applying two of them to Jesus. The first is Fida’i, literally “self-sacrificing fighter.” For example, terrorist Ashraf Na’alwa, who brought a rifle to work, tied up a young mother of a 15-month-old, and then murdered her and another coworker, was called by Fatah: “The heroic Fida’i.” Fatah official Rawhi Fattouh applied this status to Jesus: “Jesus the first Palestinian Fida’i.”

The second term is Shahid - Islamic “Martyr” – the word the PA uses for every terrorist killed during his/her attack, including suicide bombers. Senior Fatah leader Tawfiq Tirawi applied both terms to Jesus: “The first Fida’i and the first Martyr, the messiah Jesus.”

Ironically, the PA and Fatah do not intend to insult Jesus’ memory or Christian tradition by turning Jesus into a terrorist. Palestinian leaders actually believe that terrorists, murderers of Israelis, and Islamic “Martyrs”, are the “most honorable.” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas praises them regularly and puts them on the highest pedestal: “We view the Martyrs and prisoners (i.e., terrorists) as stars in the sky of the Palestinian people and they have priority in everything.” [Official PA TV, July 24, 2018]

So by calling Jesus a Palestinian terrorist the PA/Fatah actually intend to honor him.

In the following chart examples on the left are terms Palestinians have used to honor Jesus and, on the right, the same terms used to honor terrorist murderers:
Convicted murderer of 5 supervises university studies of terrorist students in Israeli prison
Islamic Jihad terrorist and released prisoner Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i: “I thank Dr. ‘Abu Al-Qassam’ Marwan Barghouti (i.e., murderer of 5) who supervised [my] master’s degree in regional studies and regional affairs” …

Released prisoner Muhammad Al-Najjar: “I started imprisonment having approximately 10 [years of education]. When I entered prison I completed [high school] matriculation, Allah be praised, and I completed many courses. After matriculation I went straight to university. I studied at Al-Aqsa University and I studied at Al-Quds Open University. One of the most important courses was a course in journalism and media. Allah be praised, I completed it with honors.”

[Official PA TV, I Call You, Dec. 22, 2021]

Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i – Palestinian terrorist and member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization who committed shooting and mortar attacks against Israeli towns in Gush Katif, inside the Gaza Strip. Al-Zre’i was arrested on Dec. 20, 2002, and sentenced to 19 years; he was released in December 2021.

Marwan Barghouti – Palestinian terrorist and member of the PA parliament who orchestrated three shooting attacks in which 5 people were murdered: one attack on the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road (June 12, 2001) in which Greek Orthodox monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorists Ismail Radaida and Yasser Ah'Rabai, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, Yosef Habi, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected as a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. On Dec. 4, 2016, he was elected to Fatah's Central Committee. Barghouti is serving 5 life sentences.

Muhammad Al-Najjar – released Palestinian prisoner, PMW was unable to determine the nature of his crimes.


‘PA Commissioner for Combating Settlements’ and His Corruption Cases
Corruption is abundant and ever-rising in the Palestinian Authority. Enforcement officials in the PA have recently begun investigating corruption cases involving Walid Assaf, who until recently was the head of the Palestinian National Committee for Combating Settlements and served as a PA minister.

Assaf served in his position for a number of years, but a month ago was unexpectedly replaced by Mu’id Shaaban.

Sources in the PA told TPS that Assaf is suspected of stealing NIS five million from the committee’s funds.

From the material that reached PA intelligence sources and was presented to TPS, it appears that Assaf purchased a villa in the Bir Zeit area, as well as land in the Jericho and Qalqilya areas, and that he owns a restaurant in Bir Zeit. Assaf is also suspected of helping his family members to find jobs in the PA. His wife is also a senior PA official.

A source involved in the investigation told TPS that information obtained in Ramallah indicates that Assaf acted using his status and position to vacate land on which there was a garbage disposal facility, in violation of procedures. Assaf argued that the evacuation of the garbage facility was necessary to “advance the struggle against the settlements in the area” and after the facility was removed, he purchased the land at a low price and sold it while pocketing large profits.


Gal Gadot beats Gigi Hadid in number of Instagram followers
Israeli actress, producer, and star of the "Wonder Woman" franchise Gal Gadot has reached 72 million followers on the Instagram social media platform.

Not only is this an eye-raising number in and of itself, it also means that Gadot (@gal_gadot) now has more followers than supermodel and pro-Palestinian sympathizer Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid).

A few weeks ago, Israel Hayom reported that Gadot, who at the time had approximately 70 million followers, was breathing down Hadid's neck.

The news comes shortly after the report that Gadot has been picked to play the role Grace Kelly made famous in a reprisal of the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film "To Catch a Thief."

As of Sunday, Gadot was also doing well on other social media platforms, with 3.2 million followers on TikTok and 3 million followers on Twitter.


Martin Luther King Jr. left a powerful legacy against hate - opinion
Ten days before his life was tragically cut short, Dr. King spent the evening with rabbis from across the country. This was both the 68th convening of the Rabbinical Assembly and the 60th birthday of his friend Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. In his introduction, Rabbi Heschel told the audience, “Martin Luther King is a voice, a vision and a way… The whole future of America will depend upon the impact and influence of Dr. King.”

Had Dr. King lived past his 40th birthday, we can only speculate on how his voice and vision would have been utilized in future decades. We can assume that his fledgling work to deepen the natural alliance between the Black and Jewish communities would have grown with a focus to eradicate hate in America.

It is all too easy to focus on differences and on the perpetrators of evil who exacerbate these differences. This is often at the expense of the much rarer task of celebrating diverse voices who stand up and speak out and bring us together.

On that night with the rabbis, it was also the first and, sadly, only time that Dr. King heard “We Shall Overcome” sung in Hebrew.

The single most powerful way to conquer hate is to show where it can lead. We witnessed this in Memphis on April 4, 1968 and more recently in racist and antisemitic attacks across the US.

Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome so that future generations of black and Jewish Americans will never have to endure seeing violence motivated by racism and antisemitism.











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