Friday, September 23, 2022

From Ian:

Armin Rosen: A Hate Crime a Day Keeps the DOJ Away
New York politicians are at least talking about waging a more serious response to the frequent acts of violence and harassment targeting the city’s Orthodox Jews. Last week, Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres, N.Y.-15, called for a federal probe of New York’s failure to prosecute suspects in anti-Jewish hate crimes, which have become so routine a feature of life in Orthodox communities that only the most egregious incidents ever become known beyond community media or the Twitter feeds of local politicians. On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams promised that assaults on Jews “won’t be tolerated.”

Attacks on Jews in New York are often treated as a parochial problem, not as a phenomenon with implications for broader civic and social health. Even if that changes, and even if decision-makers and the general public begin treating these incidents as an active civic crisis, the problem elides any easy political fix because it reflects a deeper corrosion. America’s most populous city prides itself on being a special place of safety and tolerance for the diverse peoples of the world, but the pace of attacks on visible Jews, along with the general indifference toward this shameful reality, reveal this to be a self-serving myth. New York is increasingly chaotic, violent, and small-minded, and its official and even semipopular fetish for equity and multiculturalism seems to have translated into even worse treatment of certain minority groups.

Over the past month alone, we found 13 reported incidents of violence or harassment against Jews in New York that appear to have been antisemitic in nature. It is a staggering number, proof that in New York City there is a sense of impunity for attacking people who look a certain way, along with a widespread desire to take advantage of the opportunity. The conditions are favorable for would-be tormentors of Jews in New York, even despite the statements of Torres and Adams. On Wednesday, three men who pleaded guilty to bludgeoning two Orthodox Jews on a Shabbat afternoon in May of 2021 for refusing to say “free Palestine” during an ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas learned they wouldn’t have to go to jail.

Indeed, the past month’s blotter is a record of social breakdown that has been allowed to become utterly normal:
Seth Frantzman: Rosh Hashanah: What's changed in the Middle East this year?
FOR ISRAEL, this is a complex set of changes.

Iran has tried to target Israel with drones, including flying the drones from Iraq and Iran. Israel and US Central Command relations are growing, and as such US-led coalition aircraft reportedly downed Iranian drones earlier this year. In addition, Iran has sent drones to Russia, expanding its drone role.

Israel has continued operations in Syria in the “war between the wars” campaign to stop Iranian entrenchment. The Syrian regime blamed Israel for two rounds of airstrikes on Aleppo and Damascus airports in August and September 2022.

In 2022 there has also been a lot of talk about the Iran deal. Iran has continued to enrich uranium and is reported to be just weeks away from having enough material to build a bomb. However, Iran has been at this red line for years, and it is not clear when Iran might “break out.”

The US had worked with Russia on the Iran deal before the Russian invasion. Now Russia is more closely allied to Iran and wants to use the deal to get around sanctions. Iran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in September, and Iran’s leader went to Uzbekistan alongside Turkey, China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes to attend the SCO meeting. This was a major confab designed to showcase that these countries can balance the US-led world order.

Meanwhile, Israel and the UAE celebrated the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords. Bahrain, Morocco and other countries are now peace partners of Israel, and all these ties are growing. Israel has hosted the Negev Forum of countries, which includes Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and the UAE; and with US support for this important group, it is clear that the Abraham Accords and subsequent partnerships are reaching new heights. This is also clear in Israel-India ties and the I2U2 partnership of India, Israel, US and UAE. The first I2U2 summit took place in July.

Israeli leaders have continued outreach to Morocco and the Gulf. Israel has also rekindled ties with Turkey. This shows that a new regional order could be taking shape. But will Israel really risk closer ties with Turkey if Turkey doesn’t break ties with Hamas? Iran has continued to try to target Israelis in places like Turkey, raising alarms.

At the same time, Israel has launched the Octopus Doctrine to target Iran directly. Israel is also building lasers to stop Iranian missiles supplied to terrorist groups.

Time will tell whether the same trends will prevail or whether there will be shake-ups – minor or major – that make waves.
BDS Fails Stories about Israeli success the media ignore (Rosh Hashanah edition)
Israeli startups raised $1.1b in August
Israeli startups raised $1.1 billion in August 2022, according to press releases seen by “Globes.” The figure may be more as some companies prefer to remain in stealth and sometimes do not publicize the investments they have received.

Israeli privately-held tech companies raised a record $25.6 billion in 2021, according to IVC, more than double 2020’s figure of $10 billion, which was itself a record. Israeli startups raised $10.9 billion in the first half of 2022, according to IVC, so although well of the pace of last year’s record, startups have already raised more than all of 2020. Israeli startups have raised $12.7 billion in the first eight months of 2022.

EL AL to Launch Direct Flight from Dublin to Tel Aviv in March 2023
El Al, Israel’s largest airline is expected to begin operating a direct flight from Dublin to Tel Aviv in March 2023. The flight launch will make El Al the only airline to fly between Israel and Ireland and becoming the first airline to fly to Tel Aviv in over two decades. The route will operate three times a week on a Boeing 737 aircraft. The direct flight will allow easy access between the two hi-tech cities, and will encourage travel and business collaborations between the two. The flight time is approximately six hours.

Israel’s gas royalties jump 48% in H1 2022
Israel received royalties of NIS 829 million in the first half of 2022 from natural gas, quarries and resources, up 50% from the first half of 2021, the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources reports. Most of this figure – NIS 824 million – was from natural gas, up 48% from NIS 557 million the first half of last year. Since the state began collecting royalties for offshore natural gas in 2013, it has received NIS 10 billion.

Israel to ramp up gas exports to Europe as EU energy crisis intensifies
While global price hikes have impacted Israel, the small nation’s domestic gas supplies currently outstrip its needs, leaving it well-placed to increase exports as other countries scramble for solutions.

In the first half of 2022, Israel’s natural gas production soared by 22 per cent ahead of plans to funnel more gas to Europe.

Production also expanded year on year to 10.85 billion cubic metres by June, 42 per cent of which are for exports.

Meanwhile, the combined royalties from gas, minerals, and fees climbed to around 50 per cent to 829 million shekels (over £214 million), mostly accumulated from natural gas.

UAE-Israel Trade Reaches $1.4 Billion This Year So Far, Surpassing All of 2021
Bilateral trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached $1.407 billion in the first seven months of 2022, surpassing the $1.221 billion of trade recorded between the two in all of 2021.

The figures, which account for trade of goods excluding software, were shared Thursday by Amir Hayek, Israel’s ambassador to Abu Dhabi. Hayek was appointed to his post nearly a year after Israel and the UAE normalized relations with US support as part of the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

A New Book Exposes How Some Christian Denominations Have Embraced Anti-Zionist Anti-Semitism
Reviewing Peace and Faith, a collection of essays by writers from various religious backgrounds examining the attitudes of different churches to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, John C. Campbell finds much that is informative. The book above all makes clear where anti-Jewish attitudes can be found in Christianity, and where they can’t:

[It is the] introduction’s description of the work of the Christian biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann that may be most useful, especially for readers new to the anti-Israel sentiment increasingly dominant in mainline (i.e. broadly non-fundamentalist) Protestant churches. Brueggemann, in his 2015 book Chosen?: Reading the Bible amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and elsewhere, offers a noxious mix of politics and theology that caricatures Israel as an uncompromisingly brutal state vis-à-vis the Palestinians so that he must then “bring down the wrath of the [biblical] prophets” upon the country in condemnation. Despite the obvious echo of old ideas about Jewish power and malice in his writings, it is hard to overestimate how influential Brueggemann’s work has become in the mainline churches of the English-speaking world.

Jonathan Rynhold, [in his chapter] “Evangelicals and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” shows how evangelical Christian organizations in the USA more often than not fail to live up to their reputation as unthinking and extreme in their support for Israel. More particularly, it is clear that the majority of evangelicals are not in fact opposed to a genuine peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, even one requiring Israel to give up territory. Neither do most evangelicals hold views about the end times that might be construed as anti-Jewish.

More problematic, to Campbell, is the concluding section, written by Cary Nelson, one of the volume’s editors. Although Nelson is a dogged opponent of BDS and of the excesses of academic hatred of Israel, his prescriptions seem out of touch with the harsh realities of the Middle East:
[This chapter] makes approximately 40 urgent recommendations on how to prepare for a two-state solution and then implement it—most requiring action only by Israel. Nelson justifies this imbalance by appeal to Israel’s superior power and the fact that “the key requirements for Palestinians, like adopting transparent finances and eliminating incitement, are difficult, transformational requirements.” However, since Palestinian leaders certainly rejected generous peace deals in 2000 and 2008, and almost certainly rejected a more modest one in 2014, it is arguable that these and other “difficult, transformational” issues on the Palestinian side also need prioritization.

The very assumption that [the independent Palestinian state Nelson hopes for] must be Jew-free will be viewed by some as a warning sign that the political entity envisaged will almost certainly not be democratic or peaceful.
Can King Charles change Britain's attitude toward Israel?
The cause of the Anglican Church's critical attitude towards Israel is a deeply-rooted "replacement theology" (also known as "supercessionism") according to which – although the Church does not say so in so many words – it has replaced the Jews as God's chosen people. Thus, the Anglican Church does not accept that the literal ingathering of the Jewish people and their restoration to the land have any abiding biblical significance, and prefers to support the Palestinians, who are perceived as the oppressed underdog.

We know that King Charles and his heir Prince William support Israel's existence and sovereignty. However, Charles' secret visit to his grandmother's grave on the Mount of Olives in 2016 and Prince William's 2018 visit to Israel revealed the tensions involved in complying with the internal inconsistencies of the current British position.

William was the first member of the royal family to meet officially with an Israeli prime minister in Israel and he spoke warmly about "the essential vibrancy" of the Jewish state. Nevertheless, his visits to areas beyond the 1967 lines, including eastern Jerusalem, were not organized by the British embassy in Tel Aviv but by Britain's Jerusalem consulate, which is located in the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood in the city's east and is charged with maintaining relations with the Palestinian Authority. William's visit thus confirmed the official British position that demands the establishment of a Palestinian state and regards eastern Jerusalem and the Old City – including the Western Wall – as "occupied Palestinian territory" that needs to be placed under Arab-Muslim sovereignty.

Should King Charles and Prime Minister Truss seek to depart from existing British policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they will not only have to overcome obstruction from the British Foreign Office, but will also face opposition from within the Anglican Church.

There is no doubt that King Charles and his prime minister understand the deep challenges and dilemmas facing the Jewish people and the State of Israel, as well as the huge contribution made by Israel to peace and security in the Middle East and the existential dangers presented by the current unilateral Palestinian claims to statehood. Let's hope that they will have the courage to speak the truth without fear or favor.
When Queen Elizabeth helped us hunt Nazis
This past week’s media was dominated by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96, after reigning over the United Kingdom for seventy years. This was true in Great Britain of course, and throughout the British Commonwealth (which still has 15 fifteen countries), but it was also true all over the world, and even in Israel. The Jewish community in Britain also participated, and Chief Rabbi Mirvis not only very warmly eulogized the Queen, he even composed a lovely prayer “On The Passing Of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” in which he noted her “generosity of spirit…dignity, wisdom” and described her as “a most gracious monarch, who occupied a throne of distinction and honour.”

Very interestingly, the one positive characteristic in the prayer that was mentioned twice was justice. In Rabbi Mirvis’ words, Queen Elizabeth “signified order and justice,” and was “a steadfast guardian of liberty, a symbol of unity and a champion of justice in all the lands of her dominion.”

In fact, I personally can attest to the Queen’s devotion to justice, in relation to the Wiesenthal Center’s efforts to convince the British government to prosecute Nazi criminals, who had found a haven in Great Britain after World War II, an aspect of her reign that was completely overlooked in all the obituaries, eulogies, and commentaries.

Starting in the mid-seventies, it became known, initially in the United States and later in the major Anglo-Saxon democracies (Canada, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand), that many Nazi criminals had emigrated to countries that fought against the Third Reich, by hiding their collaboration with the Nazis, and posing as innocent refugees fleeing from Communism. The United States, which admitted the largest number of such persons, was the first country to decide to take legal measures against these individuals. It established a special agency, the Office of Special Investigations, to prosecute them. As time went on, more and more such cases were discovered in the other Anglo-Saxon democracies, and pressure mounted on these countries to take action.
‘They Are Using Us:’ Palestinian Human Rights Activist Blasts BDS Supporters At Duke University Event
The boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement hinders peace in the Middle East and keeps Palestinians down, human rights activist Bassem Eid told students at Duke University on Sunday.

As first reported by The Duke Chronicle, Eid, a Palestinian native and chairman of The Center for Near East Policy Research, was invited to the university by Students Supporting Israel (SSI), which last year survived an attempted cancellation that began when former Duke Student Government (DSG) president Christina Wang vetoed legislation to grant the club official recognition.

During the event at Zener Auditorium, Eid accused progressive organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), of leveraging the Palestinian plight to aggrandize and enrich themselves, charging that “they are using us.”

“Those people live in their warm houses, you know, in Virginia, Los Angeles, in the UK, and they have no problem from time to time to give a speech on behalf of Palestinians,” he said. “The BDS movement is people who used to be jobless and they found a job forever. If the Israeli-Palestine conflict is solved, all of the BDS members will be jobless and refugees.”

Eid also said that BDS’s campaigns to pressure Israeli companies into leaving the West Bank have deprived Palestinians of much needed economic growth. The Abraham Accords, he argued, are “very important” for realigning priorities in the region and meeting the needs of Palestinians “who are seeking dignity rather than identity.”
College Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Failing Jewish Students, Says New Report
Antisemitism is a blindspot for college diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies across the United States, according to a new report by StopAntisemitism, an antisemitism watchdog.

Published on Wednesday, the report’s findings are based on surveys of Jewish undergraduates, 45 percent of whom experienced antisemitism on campus and others who expressed concerns that DEI administrators are not as devoted to fighting it as strenuously as other forms of racism.

“Respondents who reported antisemitic incidents such as verbal threats, vandalism, and physical threats and violence, have largely been ignored by campus administrators,” said the report, titled “Antisemitism on US College & University Campuses: 2022 Report Card.”

“Only 28 percent percent of respondents felt their school took incidents of antisemitism seriously, ultimately jeopardizing their safety on campus,” it continued.

StopAntisemitism gave “report card” grades to university DEI offices derived from several criteria, including protection, “allyship”, identity, and policy. University of Pennsylvania received the highest mark of any Ivy League school, earning an A-. Yale University and Columbia University both received F’s. So too did New York University (NYU), an elite private school in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

“Students do not feel that the school administration and DEI staff take antisemitism seriously enough and feel complaints of antisemitism are ignored,” said the report’s evaluation of Yale University. “[It] does not include Jews in its DEI initiatives.”

Guardian peddles disproven cliche about terror's root cause
Among other problems with McKernan’s narrative, suggesting that Israeli anti-terror operations incite more Palestinian terror, is the timeline. As she acknowledged elsewhere in her piece, Israel’s current West Bank operation was launched in response to a surge in deadly terror attacks, most of which emanated from cities such as Jenin and Nablus.

The terror surge included seven attacks in a six weeks period that left 19 Israelis dead. Further, more than 240 planned major Palestinian attacks – shootings, suicide attacks, explosive attacks, and kidnappings – were thwarted by Israel’s security forces since the beginning of the year.

But, it’s not merely that the current terror/anti-terror timeline doesn’t align with her narrative. The decades since the early 90s undermine the suggested correlation between Israeli policies and terror.

Otherwise, how can McKernan explain the surge in terror in the years following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993; the fact that the savagery of the 2nd Intifada followed Israel’s peace offer at Camp David, which, if Arafat hadn’t rejected it, would have created a Palestinian state; or the fact that a plurality of Palestinians in Gaza voted for the terror group Hamas after Israel withdrew ever soldier and civilian from the territory?

In all these situations, Palestinians chose war and terror when they had every incentive to choose peace.

If McKernan accepts that Palestinians are more than just victims, a fact that former NY Times editor Margaret Sullivan urged reporters to remember, then she should offer more to Guardian readers than merely cliches about terrorism’s ‘root causes’ which obfuscate the role that the decisions of Palestinians and their leaders play in perpetuating the conflict.
Facebook Report Finds Company’s Censorship Violated Human Rights – of Palestinians
The report was commissioned by Facebook last year and was conducted by the independent consultancy firm Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and focuses on the company’s censorship practices and allegations of bias during military action by Israel last spring.

During military action by Israel in the Gaza Strip, many Palestinians that were attempting to document and protest the violence using Facebook and Instagram found that their posts spontaneously disappeared. BSR attempted to investigate and explain this action.

Last month over a dozen civil society and human rights groups wrote an open letter protesting a delay in the publication of the report, which was set to be released in the “first quarter” of the year. BSR does credit Facebook for attempting to improve its policies but further blames “a lack of oversight at Meta that allowed content policy errors with significant consequences to occur.”

BSR’s report also notes that while Facebook’s actions harmed Palestinian rights, it absolves Facebook of “intentional bias,” instead saying that the company was responsible for “unintentional bias,” and instances “where Meta policy and practice, combined with broader external dynamics, does lead to different human rights impacts on Palestinian and Arabic speaking users.”

BSR’s report stated: “The data reviewed indicated that Arabic content had greater over-enforcement (e.g., erroneously removing Palestinian voice) on a per user basis. Data reviewed by BSR also showed that proactive detection rates of potentially violating Arabic content were significantly higher than proactive detection rates of potentially violating Hebrew content.”

Interestingly, many have accused Facebook of censoring American users in the past but the company has yet to call for an internal investigation of such censorship. In fact, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified before Congress that the company has no bias in the enforcement of its speech policies.
Leading German Catholic Bishop Warns Against Antisemitism in Rosh Hashanah Message
The head of the Catholic Church in Germany has urged renewed efforts to combat “everyday antisemitism” in greetings to the Jewish community ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which begins on Sunday night.

In a letter on Friday to Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of German Jews, Dr. Georg Bätzing — president of the German Bishops’ Conference — highlighted his concern at growing levels of antisemitism in Germany.

Bätzing said the presence of antisemitic and viscerally anti-Zionist works of art at the Documenta festival of contemporary art in the city of Kassel had “rightly given rise to a broad public debate.”

Both the Indonesian curators and the management team of the festival — one of the most art world’s most anticipated events — have been severely criticized for allowing the display of images that invoked crude antisemitic stereotypes, as well as several pieces that glorified terrorism against Israel.

However, Bätzing emphasized, it was important “not to lose sight of everyday antisemitism, for example in schools.” He praised the educational project “Together Against Antisemitism,” which will launch in Catholic and Protestant schools in the state of Lower Saxony later this year.

According to data released by the German interior ministry in February, there was a 30 percent increase in antisemitic crime in 2021, with more than 3,000 incidents reported. The police registered 63 violent assaults in 2021 — six more than in 2020. Nearly half of the incidents (1,306) occurred in the second quarter of last year, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that witnessed antisemitic violence accompanying “Free Palestine” demonstrations around the world.
German antisemitism czar is accused of ‘Jew-hatred’
A German official appointed to confront antisemitism has been himself accused of “Jew-hatred” after he accused the “father of the Israel Defence Forces” of being a “murderer”.

Michael Blume, Baden-Württemberg’s state commissioner for combating antisemitism, accused Major-General Orde Wingate of being a “war criminal” and “British murderer”.

Zionist Wingate is revered in Israel, where he is considered the father of the IDF. Streets and squares are named after him, as well as the national centre for physical education and sports, the Wingate Institute.

Following Blume’s comments, which first appeared on his Twitter account, several leading military, diplomatic and intelligence experts in the UK, the US and Israel have urged the government of Baden-Württemberg to fire him.

Retired British army chief Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded troops in Afghanistan, said: “Wingate was a highly decorated British officer who was killed fighting for his country in the Second World War and bravely defended Jews in Palestine against murderous Arab gangs in the 1930s.

“He was a committed Zionist, revered as a hero and friend in Israel.

"That is enough to incite hatred from those opposed to Israel and Zionism. Germany, of all of the countries in the world, has a responsibility to fight Jew-hate at every turn and for one of its public officials — whether or not he’s an antisemitism commissioner — to support this sickness is a cause for national disgrace. Herr Blume shames Germany and should resign or be fired.” (h/t jzaik)
US envoy to query Poland over its demand for reparations for Jews killed by Poles
The Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism says she will press the Polish government over a recent “disappointing” report it commissioned demanding reparations from Germany for Jews who were killed by Poles during World War II.

Poland has demanded 1.3 trillion euros ($1.29 trillion) in reparations from Germany for the damages, primarily for the human toll of the war. Included in that list are a number of villages that saw pogroms by ethnic Poles in which hundreds or even thousands of Jews were massacred. The government report argues that Warsaw is owed reparations for these attacks because they took place while Nazi Germany was occupying Poland.

After coming under fire for the demand, the report’s author Arkadiusz Mularczyk defended its inclusion, saying that “international conventions state that occupiers are responsible for the population’s safety.”

The justification did not convince US Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, who condemned the report during a Wednesday interview, “I think it’s quite disturbing to say that the Germans should have stopped what happened.”

“Part of the greatness of a country is its willingness to look at where it succeeded and where it failed,” the US antisemitism envoy argued. “America has to do that. And I think Poland has to do that.”

Lipstadt said she hadn’t yet been made aware of the Polish report when she met with Warsaw’s ambassador to Washington earlier this month. However, she plans to travel to Poland in the coming months and “this is certainly something I would address.”
Flatbush yeshiva students threatened by armed antisemitic driver
A group of 10th grade Yeshivat Tiferes Yisroel students were accosted by an armed man in New York's Flatbush neighborhood on Monday, according to Yeshiva World News.

The driver of an unspecified vehicle stopped beside the students, rolled down his windows, and waved his firearm. “Go home,” he told the students, who immediately ran back to yeshiva and reported the event to their teachers.

The Flatbush Shomrim, a community organization dedicated to combatting crime, and the New York Police Department (NYPD) were called to investigate. After extensively canvassing the area, the Shomrim could not find the perpetrator or the vehicle.

The NYPD has pledged to increase patrols in the area surrounding the yeshiva because this attack was not isolated. On Thursday, mere days after the previous incident, another Flatbush yeshiva student––this one from Veretzksy Yeshiva––was attacked. Three men verbally assaulted him, stole his wallet, and then fled the scene. The NYPD and the Shomrim responded, but to no avail. The suspects were neither identified nor apprehended.

These attacks are a part of a frightening pattern. The NYPD reported that arrests for attacks on Jews have increased 45% this year. Further, they have recorded 149 antisemitic hate crime incidents between the beginning of 2022 and June 28, compared to the 106 at that time last year, a 29% uptick.
Chelsea Film Festival Lineup Includes Six Israeli Shorts, Documentaries and Feature Films
The 10th annual Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) in New York City has announced its lineup of films for this year’s event in October and it includes six documentaries, short films and feature narratives from Israeli filmmakers.

The narrative short film “Contact Line” by Yonatan Simelgor is about undercover Israeli soldiers and their wounded team leader who are trapped in their van in enemy territory. Their mission for survival becomes even more complicated due to their accomplice in the Gaza Strip who they are not sure they can trust.

“All the Things I Wanted to Say” by Assaf Gordon, which will be making its international premiere at CFF, is about a has-been director who decides to make one final movie about a traumatic event that took place during his service in the Israeli army. He enlists Yiftach, a young man who recently finished his own mandatory military service, to write a song for his movie. Yiftach soon realizes the film is about an incident that also affected his life and those of his army friends, and it brings back his own repressed memories about the harrowing experience.

The film also includes a love triangle but is mainly “about friendship, giving a chance and trying to figure out what’s important in life,” according to its official synopsis by CFF.

“Holy Holocaust,” by Osi Wald and Noa Berman-Herzberg, is a 17-minute animated documentary about Jennifer, a German who discovers that she is the black granddaughter of a notorious Nazi commander, and how the revelation turns her life upside down and affects her close friendship with Noa, who is Israeli.

“Why I Didn’t Report” by Ronnie Zidon is 13-minute crime drama starring “Fauda” star Rona-Lee Shimon as Dana, a crime journalist who names her rapist online. She is then interrogated by a young policewoman “who must determine if Dana is a slanderer or a survivor” but “once the station chief barges in, the two women realize Dana’s fate will be sealed in the interrogation room,” the film’s synopsis explained.
Ancient shipwreck discovered 1,200 years after sinking in the Holy Land proves Western merchants STILL traded in Israel even after the Islamic conquest
An ancient shipwreck that was discovered 1,200 years after sinking off the coast of Israel is evidence that traders from the West still came to port even after the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land, researchers say.

It was loaded with cargo from all over the Mediterranean and dates back to around the time the largely Christian Byzantine Empire was losing its grip on the area and Islamic rule was extending its reach.

This shows that trade persisted with the rest of the Mediterranean despite the religious divide, said Deborah Cvikel, a nautical archaeologist at the University of Haifa and director of the dig that found the shipwreck.

'The history books, they usually tell us that... commerce almost stopped. There was no international commerce in the Mediterranean. We had mainly smaller vessels sailing along the coast doing cabotage,' she said.

But this no longer seems to be the case.

'Here we have a large shipwreck, which we think the original ship was around 25 metres (82 feet) long, and...laden with cargo from all over the Mediterranean.'

Artefacts on deck show the ship, which dates to the 7th or 8th century AD, had docked in Cyprus, Egypt, maybe Turkey and perhaps as far away as the North African coast.

The excavation is backed by the Israel Science Foundation, Honor Frost Foundation and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University.

The coast of Israel is abundant with ships that sank over the millennia. The wrecks are more accessible to study than elsewhere in the Mediterranean because the sea here is shallow and the sandy bottom preserves artefacts.

A storm might shift the sands and expose a relic, which is what happened with the new discovery at Maagan Michael. Two amateur divers spotted a piece of wood sticking out from the bottom and reported it to authorities.

How the Miami Boys Choir turned ‘Orthodox pop’ into a TikTok sensation
“K-pop is over,” one Twitter user declared. “We’re listening to Orthodox Pop from now on.”

With those words, the Miami Boys Choir has transformed over the last two weeks from a singing group popular among Jewish insiders to a viral sensation. On TikTok and Twitter, users have shared clips of the group’s concerts, overlaid its music with other scenes and inserted themselves into split-screen duets. New fans of MBC, as the group is known for short, have chosen their favorite singers through their stage presence, their vocals, or simply, their “it” factor.

Some are finding it hard to choose. “How does every single one of these kids have the it factor,” said one person who shared the now-viral video of a 2008 performance of “Yerushalayim.”

Some basics for newcomers to the cult of MBC: The Miami Boys Choir is not based in Miami. Its members do as much dancing as singing. And the boys in the viral videos are, well, men now.

Some of them have joined in the fun, riffing on their own long-ago performances with lip sync videos and an a cappella rendition of “Yerushalayim” by MBC alumni in the all-vocal group, the Maccabeats.

The Story of Israel Told Through Rosh Hashanah Greeting Cards
The custom of sending greeting cards before the Jewish New Year began in Germany in the late Middle Ages and gradually spread to Eastern Europe and the United States. The early twentieth century was the “golden age” of postcards, and among Jews, the Rosh Hashanah greeting card was easily the star of this particular show. With the rise of electronic communications, the custom has naturally faded, and today it is likely that most of the New Year greetings we receive arrive via other mediums: text message, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tiktok, email, the list goes on. But we wanted to look back for a moment, to those distant days when sending a Rosh Hashanah greeting required more than just a click.

The holiday postcards usually carried Jewish-related motifs, such as traditional and ideological symbols, or illustrations of major Jewish current events. With the formation and rise of the Zionist movement, Rosh Hashanah greeting cards became platforms for conveying ideological and Zionist messages related to prominent public events.

This Jewish New Year greeting shows what the opening of the Second Zionist Congress in the city of Basel looked like in the last week of August 1898. Encouraged by the first Congress that had convened there the year before, hopeful representatives of Jewish communities from all over the world gathered together again to plan the future of Zionism. In the center of the photo we can see Theodor Herzl addressing the crowd.

In the spring of 1901 a meeting between Herzl and the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid stirred hopes in the Jewish world. At the meeting, Herzl asked the Sultan to sell the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, and offered a large sum of money to the Ottoman Empire and an equally large sum to the Sultan himself in exchange for a charter for the land, but the Sultan declined the request. This special greeting card was published on Rosh Hashanah 1901 to mark the historic meeting that had taken place a few months earlier.

The same New Year’s postcard series with the photographs of Herzl and the Sultan also included postcards of other heroes of the Jewish national awakening in Europe at the turn of the 20th century, such as Nordau, Emile Zola and one of Alfred Dreyfus, shown here below.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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