Saturday, May 13, 2023

From Ian:

Sweden wins 2023 Eurovision, while Israel’s Noa Kirel finishes in 3rd place
Sweden won the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool early Sunday morning, with Israel’s Noa Kirel finishing in third place.

The win for Sweden’s Loreen, with her power ballad “Tattoo,” marked the Scandinavian country’s seventh-total win at the competition, tying it for most overall victories with Ireland. It was also the second Eurovision win for Loreen, who took home the top prize at the 2012 contest with “Euphoria” — becoming only the second artist to ever win twice. Finland took second place, and Italy fourth.

Kirel, 22, finished with 362 points overall — 177 from the juries and 185 from the televote. Israel received top marks from the juries of Italy, Azerbaijan, France, Armenia and Poland, and finished the jury vote in second place overall. Among just the audience vote, Israel finished in fifth overall. The third place finish for Israel is the best showing for the country since Netta Barzilai won the competition in 2018 with “Toy.”

After completing her powerhouse performance on Saturday night, Kirel broke down in tears just before exiting the stage.

“Wow, I don’t have the words to explain how exciting it was to represent my country when millions of eyes around the world are watching every movement and note,” Kirel said in a statement shared by the Kan public broadcaster following her performance.

After the final results were announced, Kirel said she was “so proud to complete this incredible journey in the top 3!” adding that she was thankful “for the privilege to hold the flag of Israel on the biggest musical stage in the world.”
The Holocaust is not why they fought, say 1948 veterans of Israel’s War of Independence
Many see the creation of the modern-day State of Israel as part of a historical narrative, in which Israeli independence was a reaction to the Holocaust. “The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people—the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe—was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State,” the provisional government of Israel declared on May 14, 1948.

But when JNS interviewed nearly 30 veterans of the 1948 War of Independence in Israel from October 2022 to January 2023, all of the octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians said that 3,000 years of Jewish history—and not the Shoah—drove them to help reclaim the Jewish historic homeland.

JNS found the interviewees by visiting nursing homes, kibbutzim and other sites in Israel and abroad, often asking to speak with the oldest people present. The roughly 30 who agreed to talk about their experiences spoke with JNS—the majority in English with some Yiddish—for more than 60 hours collectively.

The veterans spanned Israeli-born sabras who were active in the Jewish militias Irgun, Lehi and the Haganah, as well as foreign fighters who came to assist what would become the Israel Defense Forces in Machal units. Both sabras and foreign volunteers knew a great deal about the Holocaust, and many had lost relatives and friends. They met survivors who recounted their experiences. But invariably, the veterans told JNS that they were motivated in their service by a long cultural and historical memory rather than World War II itself.

Ahead of Yom Ha’atzmaut—Israel’s Independence Day, which begins on the evening of April 25 and continues through the following day—JNS shares a few of those stories.

Haganah messenger
JNS spent some eight hours at kibbutz Gan Shmuel with Itzik Mizrachi, 90, who shared his story, gave a tour of the kibbutz where he lives and invited JNS to lunch at its dining hall. The Jerusalem-born Mizrachi said he was a messenger in Haganah’s youth wing, Gadna.

During the outbreak of the war in May 1948, Itzik and his family were in the Mount Scopus area, and Arabs blocked them from taking roads to other safe areas. A mob mobilized to try to kill them, he said, but the patriarch of an Arab family, Abu Mustafa, who shared their home stood guard at the door and told the mob it would have to kill him first.

Soon thereafter, Haganah members came in an armored truck and told the family it had half an hour to gather its things and come to safety.

Mizrachi, who remains in good health, and walks and drives on his own, told JNS that he is the seventh generation in his family to live in Israel, after his ancestors, Sephardic Jews, left Spain during the expulsion.

As a Haganah message runner, he studied KAPAP—an acronym for krav panim el panim, or close-quarter fighting—which Haganah used to disguise its weapons training. Mizrachi later studied with Imi Lichtenfeld, founder of krav maga, and his son Rhon Mizrachi is now one of the recognized experts in that area.

Mizrachi told JNS that the Holocaust was only one chapter in Jewish history. “Why would we allow that moment alone to define us as Jews?” he said. “Long before the Holocaust, we said, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ every year during the Passover seder.”

The Holocaust was a motivator, but not the main one. “For generations, we yearned for our independence. There were many pogroms, massacres and expulsions in our history. We never let any of these define us either,” he said.
The Guardian Plays Public Relations for an Antisemitic UN Official
Some lies are clever. Then there are The Guardian’s lies.

Take a May 12, 2023 article by Patrick Wintour titled “Israel treats Palestinian territories like colonies, says UN rapporteur.” That rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, has a lengthy rap sheet of extreme bias and overt antisemitism that should raise alarm bells for any credible journalist. But rather than contextualize and challenge this UN rapporteur’s remarks, Wintour’s 600-word article simply quotes her at length, including demonstrable, but unchallenged, falsehoods. What is particularly disturbing is that these lies and misleading characterizations, some of which are Wintour’s own, are so easily disproven with minimal investigation.

Wintour begins by downplaying the controversy Albanese’s rank antisemitism and bias have caused, depicting it as just “Israeli government ministers” and “Zionist groups” who hold such beliefs. Notably, the author didn’t think to provide any examples of Albanese’s remarks that have prompted charges of antisemitism. For example, when she claimed the “Jewish lobby” has “subjugated” the United States, while a “sense of guilt” has “subjugated” Europe to the same “Jewish lobby.”

Who else has charged Albanese with antisemitism and bias? The U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, the U.S. Special Envoy on Antisemitism, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and European Parliament, and a U.S. Public Delegate to the General Assembly, to name a few. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called Albanese’s “public stances completely unacceptable.” More recently, Italian Senator Giulio Terzi, a former Italian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UN, called on the Italian government (Albanese is Italian herself) to take action over Albanese’s antisemitism and bias.

Wintour leaves unchallenged Albanese’s denial that she has equated the “Nakba” with the Holocaust. Here she is on video doing exactly that, even beginning by acknowledging the problematic nature of what she goes on to say anyway. A glance at her Facebook profile (before she hid her account after a Times of Israel report exposed her antisemitic remarks) revealed she has a fondness for comparing Jews to Nazis.


Haaretz sets new records of vileness with latest Israel smear
I am not certain why they do this. Is it due to an anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, or even antisemitic ideology? I suspect, however, that the motive is cynically vile, no less – a desire to establish themselves as the most far-left rag, with the goal of ensnaring the most ardent haters of Israel, simply to get them to click, share, and like in order to generate traffic, dollars, and stroke the egos of those in charge.

The website's editors also benefit from the fact that, besides a variety of Hebrew media outlets, Israel lacks effective communication channels in foreign languages and its public diplomacy apparatus is paralyzed due to political reasons.


I know what the reason is for not publishing such repulsive articles: conscience, empathy and concern for fellow human beings. How do I know? Because I haven't seen a single critical word on the website against Islamic Jihad (or Hamas and Hezbollah for that matter) for their indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli civilians, including children. I haven't seen a single word of criticism for the killing of Palestinian children by Islamic Jihad itself in their failed rocket launches from residential neighborhoods.

It’s in Haaretz’s right to act this way, to curry favor with antisemites, boycotters, and haters. It is their right to try sawing off the branch we all sit on. Whatever the editors' motivation may be, contrary to the image they are trying to portray to the world, Israel is a free country.

However, dear readers, if Israel and the Jewish people are dear to your hearts, it is also your obligation not to take part in this cynical game. There are three other Israeli news websites in English: The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and, of course, this website, ynetnews.com. We, at ynetnews.com, have pledged to report quickly, accurately, comprehensively, and without a deceitful and distorted anti-Israel agenda on what is happening here.

We do this not only so that you can stay informed but also so that you can share with your friends and colleagues around the world who have so far been fed a confected, one-sided narrative. We do this so that you won't hesitate the next time someone presents you with another mendacious article penned by an Israeli “journalist" and says to you "But it was published in Haaretz."
FDD: Human Shields Allegedly Used by Iran-Backed Islamic Jihad
Expert Analysis
“Islamic Jihad is allegedly engaging in the actual war crime of using human shields so that Israel can more easily be falsely accused of committing war crimes such as willfully killing civilians. The United States can — and should — help set the record straight. U.S. law provides for the executive branch to impose sanctions in response to the use of human shields. President Biden should seize the opportunity to do so here, both to support America’s Israeli allies and to bolster U.S. and other NATO troops, who similarly face rampant terrorist use of civilians as human shields.” — Orde Kittrie, FDD Senior Fellow

“The complete disregard for human life and the illegitimate use of human shields are both trademarks of the regime in Tehran and its terror proxies throughout the Middle East. Using women and children to shield a mobile terrorist command post demands condemnation from every responsible nation on earth.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Violations of International Law
Whenever Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Hezbollah uses civilians to shield its weapons or fighters from lawful attack, the terror group commits a war crime violating the Fourth Geneva Convention and customary international law. During the May 2021 Gaza conflict, several outside observers publicly reported Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields for its weapons and fighters. The Associated Press found that “Palestinian fighters are clearly operating in built-up residential areas and have positioned tunnels, rocket launchers, and command and control infrastructure near schools, mosques, and homes.”

NATO Concerns on Human Shields
In 2019, then-NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti, said, “[I]t is essential that further measures be taken at the national level to maximize enforcement of the international legal prohibition of the use of human shields.” Scaparrotti specifically urged “imposition of sanctions” and “spotlighting of violations.” Such national measures “would decidedly become a major and substantial contribution” to NATO operations.

Demanding Accountability
In addition to using U.S. sanctions to hold people and groups accountable for using human shields, the Biden administration could raise concerns at the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, the upcoming World Health Assembly, and other appropriate international fora.
Incompetent Gaza Terrorists Bombard Own Territory with Rockets, Kill Four Palestinians
Last year, Israel said Islamic Jihad terrorists killed their fellow Palestinians with stray rockets. Seven people, including four children, died in August 2022 when a missile hit a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip. More than 100 rockets fell short in the Gaza Strip during the barrage.

The current flareup between Israel and the Palestinians began last week, the New York Times reported:
Nearly three months ago, Khader Adnan — a Palestinian prisoner in Israel and a leader of an armed Palestinian group called Islamic Jihad — began a hunger strike to protest his detention. Adnan, who was 45, died last week.

Almost immediately, his death set off violence. That afternoon, Islamic Jihad launched more than 100 projectiles toward southern Israel. In response, Israeli officials began planning a counterassault.

A week later, Israeli missiles struck three apartments across the Gaza Strip within seconds of one another early Tuesday morning, killing three Islamic Jihad commanders as most Gazans were sleeping. The assault also killed 10 civilians, according to Palestinian officials, including some of the targets’ wives and children.

Islamic Jihad retaliated a day later, firing hundreds of rockets and shells toward Israel. Some reached the skies above the suburbs of Tel Aviv, though Israel’s air defense systems intercepted many of the rockets and prevented casualties.


Palestinian terrorists fired rockets at Jerusalem on Friday, saying in a statement that the choice of city is mean to send "a message."

"The launching towards Jerusalem is a message, and everyone should understand its purpose," said the al Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad. "Jerusalem is in front of our eyes, and what is happening there is not separate from Gaza."
Woman killed by rocket was helping paralyzed husband reach shelter, says grandson
The woman killed in a rocket strike in Rehovot was named as 80-year-old Inga Avramyan, as her grandson said Saturday that she died as she tried to help her paralyzed husband reach shelter.

Avramyan’s husband Sergei had limited mobility after a car accident left him partially paralyzed and with a leg amputated, meaning he was unable to reach shelter unaided. He was lightly wounded in the rocket attack.

“She was hit by a collapsing ceiling, while Grandpa Sergei was only slightly injured,” the grandson, named only as Arthur, told Channel 12 news.

“They didn’t have time to get to the reinforced room,” he said.

“Grandpa was probably stressed and grandma tried to help him get up. It was difficult for him to move because his leg was amputated and he is partially paralyzed after a car accident,” the relative said.

“They heard the siren late and had too little time to get to the shelter,” the grandson said.

Arthur said that his grandparents had immigrated from Yerevan in Armenia around 30 years ago.


Gazan working in Israel killed, another badly hurt by rocket hit; truce talks stall
A Palestinian laborer from the Gaza Strip working in Israel was killed and another was seriously hurt in a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket strike in southern Israel on Saturday afternoon, medical officials said, with the latest round of hostilities between Israel and the terror group continuing for a fifth day as ceasefire talks stalled.

An Israeli man was also moderately hurt in the attack.

The rocket attack came after Islamic Jihad vowed to renew the bombardment of Israeli cities following fresh airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, and with no imminent signs of a ceasefire. Israel’s national security adviser said the goals of what Israel has called Operation Shield and Arrow were achieved in its first few seconds early on Tuesday, when the IDF killed three Islamic Jihad commanders, but that Israel had to continue targeting Islamic Jihad in Gaza because the terror group was continuing to fire on Israel.

Ceasefire efforts have appeared to founder over Islamic Jihad’s demand that Israel halt targeted strikes on its leaders — a demand Israel has made clear it will not accept.

“In the face of the continuation of the assassinations and the bombing of apartments and safe houses, the Palestinian resistance will renew its missile bombardment of the occupied cities,” the Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement, adding that “the resistance has prepared itself for months of confrontation” with Israel.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated two of the wounded men near the southern border town of Shokeda, while a third was picked up by medics at the entrance to the city of Netivot.

They were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, which said it was treating a 35-year-old and a 40-year-old in serious condition due to shrapnel injuries, and a 39-year-old man in light-to-moderate condition. The 35-year-old man, a Palestinian laborer from the Gaza Strip at work in Israel, later died of his wounds, the hospital said.


The Israel Guys: Is Israel at Full Scale War With Gaza?
It seems that Israel is at full scale war with Gaza. What is actually happening? Ben breaks down all the details on today’s show.

Tune in today to find out the cutting edge report about the recent developments in Israel!




Police: Palestinian shot dead after trying to stab officers at West Bank checkpoint
A Palestinian man who allegedly attempted to stab Border Police officers at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank was shot dead on Saturday afternoon.

A Border Police spokesman said the suspect ran toward the checkpoint near the settlement of Shaked, known as “checkpoint 300,” while brandishing a knife.

“Border Police troops operating at the crossing fired at the terrorist and neutralized him,” the spokesman said.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry identified the man as 33-year-old Ahmed Muhammad Atatreh, and said he had died of his wounds.

No soldiers or officers were hurt in the incident.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Earlier Saturday, two Palestinian gunmen were shot dead as Israeli troops carried out a raid against a terror operative’s hideout apartment in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Palestinians slam Biden administration for not stopping Israeli ‘crimes’
The US administration bears responsibility for the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the PA said on Saturday, in what some Palestinians see as a sign of a looming crisis between Ramallah and Washington.

Relations between the Palestinian Authority and the US were strained under the administration of former US president Donald Trump, who enraged the Palestinians by cutting off financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Biden administration, however, has over the past two years sought to improve its relations with the PA by resuming financial aid and appointing senior State Department official Hady Amr as a special envoy to the Palestinians. Amr and other senior US officials have been holding meetings with senior PA officials in Ramallah almost on a regular basis.

Despite the rapprochement, Palestinian officials have on a number of occasions voiced disappointment with the Biden administration for failing to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, including reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, both of which were closed by the Trump administration.

The officials have also taken the Biden administration to task for failing to exert pressure on Israel to halt its “unilateral” measures, including settlement construction and counterterrorism measures, especially in the West Bank.

On Saturday, PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh, responding to the latest round of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad and the killing of two Palestinians during a raid on Balata refugee camp near Nablus, chose to point an accusing finger not only at Israel, but the Biden administration as well.

Statements issued by Abu Rudaineh and other senior Ramallah-based officials often call on the US administration to immediately intervene and put pressure on Israel to halt its policies and measures.

“The American administration also bears responsibility for the deterioration of the situation because of its silence over Israeli crimes and failure to stop them,” Abu Rudaineh said. The US inaction, he said, has allowed Israel to continue its “aggression” on the Palestinians.


Only Republicans speak at ‘bipartisan’ Israel gathering to replace Tlaib’s event
When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked an event marking 75 years of Palestinian suffering since Israel’s establishment in 1948, he promised to replace it with a bipartisan discussion celebrating Israel.

McCarthy’s event took place, but only Republicans spoke. Prominent pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers were not invited.

“This event in the US Capitol is canceled,” McCarthy tweeted on Tuesday, a day ahead of a planned commemoration of what Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” or catastrophe, organized by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-American Michigan Democrat. “Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship.”

A speaker of the House usurping a lawmaker’s right to use a room is rare if not unprecedented. But McCarthy’s action drew praise from an array of centrist pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Anti-Defamation League.

Tlaib ultimately hosted her event on the Senate side of the Capitol, securing a room with the help of a progressive Jewish ally, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

McCarthy’s event also went ahead on Wednesday night — but unlike Tlaib’s, was closed to media and, also, apparently to Democratic lawmakers. Staffers for pro-Israel groups including AIPAC were in attendance, in addition to Republican lawmakers and their staffers.
Rashida Tlaib says she ‘struggles’ with prospect of uprooting West Bank settlements
In a recent speech, US Representative Rashida Tlaib said she struggles with the idea of uprooting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, comparing the evacuation of settlements to the displacement of Palestinians during and after Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

The Democratic congresswoman, who is Palestinian-American, made the remarks on Monday via Zoom to a group of Jewish high school students who gather virtually to hear from Palestinians. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency obtained a recording of the Zoom call.

During her appearance, one of the students asked her about Israeli West Bank settlements, which much of the international community considers illegal. In response, the Michigan representative invoked the “Nakba,” the term meaning “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe their displacement during and after the 1948 war.

“Some settlements have been there for so long, right?” she said. “And just the idea around taking families that — that’s been their home — it’s just completely uprooting, forcibly displacing. It’s something I struggle with because, like, we’re doing it all over again, right? This happened during the Nakba.”

Tlaib immediately qualified that “you can’t compare” the Nakba to the removal of settlements, saying that Palestinians endured more violence than uprooted settlers when they were dispersed or expelled. Palestinians, she said, also deserved “restorative justice.” But she appeared to have difficulty accommodating the idea of removing families who had lived in their homes for generations.


The historian who uncovered the ADL’s secret plot against the far-right John Birch Society
A historian leafing through files in an archive discovered how a Jewish organization helped bring down an influential far-right extremist movement in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s by going undercover and acting as self-appointed spies.

The discovery of the Anti-Defamation League’s covert operation targeting the John Birch Society is the basis of a chapter in a new book by political historian Matthew Dallek of George Washington University. Published in March, “Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right” is Dallek’s fourth book. It examines the roots of today’s emboldened conservative movement in the United States.

“Birchers” is a history of a group that at its height numbered as many as 100,000 members and “mobilized a loyal army of activists” in a campaign against what it saw as a vast communist conspiracy. He also examines how the Birchers’ mission to defend Christianity and capitalism morphed into a radical anti-civil rights agenda that groups like the ADL saw as an existential threat.

Dallek, who grew up in a Reform Jewish household in Los Angeles, recently sat with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to discuss the rise of the Birchers, how the ADL infiltrated their ranks and whether such tactics are justified in the name of fighting extremism.


Guatemalan foreign minister pledges country will be Israel’s best Latin American ally
Guatemala will continue to be Israel’s strongest ally in Latin America, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Bucaro said, in the latest sign of the success of faith-based diplomacy.

The pledge came as the Guatemalan parliament celebrates its historic relations with Israel this week, marking Israel’s 75th anniversary ahead of upcoming national elections next month.

“We are very excited to open the week of celebrations for Israel’s 75th anniversary,” Bucaro told dozens of dignitaries and guests gathered at a parliamentary event. “Guatemala will continue to be Israel’s best ally in Latin America.”

Guatemala’s friendship with Israel dates back to the vote by the United Nations to create a Jewish state in 1947. Guatemala then became the first country in Latin America to recognize the newly-founded Israel. It was also the second country in the world to move its embassy to Jerusalem after the United States did so in 2018.

The parliamentary event, which was held in conjunction with the Guatemalan Israel Allies Caucus, comes at a time of burgeoning relations between Israel and evangelical Christian supporters around the world.
The Israel Guys: Why 5 MILLION CHRISTIANS Are Praying For Israel (with Mike Bickle | IHOP)
Pastor Mike Bickle (Founder of the International House of Prayer Kansas City) joins Joshua on the show today to talk about the 5 MILLION Christians who are fasting and praying for 21 days for the nation of Israel. The Isaiah 62 fast is bringing Christians from all over the world together to pray for Israel.




Ahead of Eurovision finals, Noa Kirel's heart is with Israel under fire
As missiles rained down on her home country, Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest representative, Noa Kirel, tried to keep her focus on preparing for the finals in Liverpool on Saturday night, although she admitted in a press conference with Israeli media on Wednesday that it was a challenge.

“It’s not easy mentally to go on stage at Eurovision when people in Israel are going down to shelters. My heart is with them. I’m proud to represent the country on days like this and send a big hug to everyone in Israel,” she said.

Kirel, who qualified for the finals after an electrifying performance of her song, "Unicorn," in the semi-finals on Tuesday night, said she took her role as a representative of Israel abroad seriously during this crisis, and expressed her hope that her performance provided some enjoyment for people back home.

“We sing songs and raise the energy and the morale. I connected with everyone [here], everyone who was with me in the semi-finals. We have huge unicorn balloons all over the place and everyone comes in and immediately tells us, ‘Oh Israel, we love you,’” she said.


Brian Mast: ‘Proud’ to have worn US Army and IDF uniforms
The anti-Israel activists draped in Palestinian flags in the tony Beacon Hill neighborhood who yelled at and taunted the U.S. Army veteran and his family in Boston’s Public Garden couldn’t have known that they’d be partly responsible for shaping one of Israel’s staunchest defenders in Congress.

But this wasn’t just any man upon whom they chose to pick.

“It’s not hard to figure out that I’m a veteran. I don’t have any legs, and I wear a hat that says ‘Army Ranger,’ so most people with half a mind can put two and two together,” Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) told JNS.

At the time, Mast had retired in 2012 after a dozen years of service as an explosive specialist who lost both legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2010. He was studying at Harvard University, and he and his then-pregnant wife, Brianna, and their two sons (they now have four children) would go to the picturesque Public Garden in the evenings so the kids could ride their bikes and play in the grass.

The protesters, who showed up weekly or so, decided to yell things like “You’re the big Satan” and “You’re a pawn” at Mast, the congressman told JNS. Mast, who is Christian, hadn’t followed Israel closely at the time, although he saw references on the news.

The jeers represented the “first catalyst” for the congressman’s decision to connect much more deeply with the Jewish state.

“These people, who were out there to protest Israel, all of a sudden wanted to pick a fight with me, which is just fine. I don’t mind getting into verbal or physical confrontations with other people,” Mast, 42, a fourth-term congressman representing Florida’s 21st District, told JNS.

“It was the first time this fight had really ever been thrown at my feet in that way, where people were trying to drag me into what I was seeing in the news,” he said.






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