Sunday, October 01, 2023

From Ian:

The Palestinian Authority admits there’s no ‘Israeli occupation’
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Arabs ended 30 years ago. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask the Palestinian Authority.

The PA recently submitted a request to UNESCO to recognize the city of Jericho as a “Palestinian heritage site.” In its description of the history of the region, the PA’s request refers to “the time of Israeli Occupation (1967-1994).” Thus, the PA has acknowledged, in writing, that Israel’s occupation there ended in 1994.

The same phrase appears in another PA-UN document. In 2008, the PA asked the United Nations to help improve its tax-collecting policies. After a two-year study, the PA’s Finance Ministry and the United Nations Development Program published a report titled “Diagnostic Study of Property Tax in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The report surveyed the history of tax collection in the area, so it was forced to acknowledge the changes between the years that Israel occupied Palestinian Arab cities and the years after the occupation ended. Thus, on page 49, we find Section 6.1, which is titled “Taxes in the occupied Palestinian territory – Israeli Occupation (1967-1994).”

(Thanks to the noted legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich and the “Elder of Ziyyon” blog for finding these documents.)

Why does this matter? Because there is an entire cottage industry of pundits, politicians, and advocacy groups whose agenda depends upon claiming that there is an “Israeli occupation.”

They need to be able to point an accusing finger at Israel, in order to justify their demand for Palestinian statehood. They need to be able to portray Israel as an oppressor in order to excuse Palestinian Arab violence. They need to pretend Israel still occupies the Palestinians, in order to make it seem as if Israel is to blame for their lack of elections and civil rights.

Of course, anybody who visits any city in the PA-governed territories, can see with their own eyes that there are no Israeli soldiers. No Israeli military governor. No Israeli military administration. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew them all, three decades ago.
New Zealand’s Labour Government to Recognize a Palestinian State after October 14 Elections
Justice for Palestine and Alternative Jewish Voices on Sunday reported with considerable glee an announcement by New Zealand’s ruling Labour Party that if it is re-elected on October 14, it would recognize the State of Palestine by inviting the Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to present his credentials as an Ambassador to New Zealand.

Labour gained 50% of the vote in the 2020 election, increasing its presence in the House of Representatives to 65 seats, and marking the first time that a party has won enough seats to govern alone since 1996. It was a landslide victory, with Labour winning “virtually every single electorate,” gaining the support of centrist swing voters. On January 19, 2023, PM Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation as party leader and prime minister, and Chris Hipkins replaced her on January 22.

As of the October 17, 2020 elections, Labor has 65 seats in parliament, or 50.01% of the votes, the National Party has 33 seats (25.58%), ACT with 10 seats (7.58%), the Greens 10 seats (7.86%), and the Maori Party has 2 seats (1.17%).

Only two weeks later, on February 6, PM Hipkins met with the Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, Izzat Salah Abdulhadi.

Last Wednesday, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi met with New Zealand Representative to Palestine Barney Riley as well as Abdulhadi at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah. According to WAFA, they discussed, naturally, “the rapid escalation of Israel’s flagrant violations of international law and conventions.”

New Zealand would be joining 139 UN member states, out of 193, who already recognize Palestine as a state, even though it does not exist. In reality, in parts of Judea and Samaria there is an autonomy under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which was established following the Oslo Accords of 1994, while in the Gaza Strip Hamas has been in control since June 2007, after it forcibly removed the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority claims sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip but in practice, it lacks many political powers. Over the past 30 years, the PA depended on Israel for significant parts of its budget, including tax and customs collections. There is cooperation between the PA security forces and the Israeli security apparatus, but it is fragile and inconsistent.

In September 2014, Israel and New Zealand clashed after New Zealand had assigned an ambassador to Israel and to the Palestinian Authority. Israel did not allow Ambassador Jonathan Curr to present his credentials, saying that would violate Israel’s “well-known policy” of not receiving diplomats who are also received by the PA. New Zealand ended the conflict by appointing separate diplomats to Israel and the PA.
Revealed: Hundreds of millions of shekels added to Israeli aid to Palestinians
Israel has recently slashed the gasoline tax it had been collecting from the Palestinian Authority by 50% as well as taken other measures to ease the financial situation in Ramallah, Israel Hayom has learned. The 1994 economic accords between Israel and the Palestinians stipulate a 3% rate but Israel has recently decided to collect only half the amount, at 1.5%, as shown in a recent document signed by the IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories office several days ago. This will save some NIS 80 million ($20 million) for the PA on an annual basis.

Other measures that Israel has taken to help the Palestinians financially since the start of 2023 add up to some NIS 270 million ($70 million). This includes more transfers of taxes collected on behalf of the PA, amounting to a major upgrade compared to about half a million shekels only three years ago. This, despite many of the goods ostensibly being sent to the PA never making it there because of a fraudulent ploy by importers.

Other financial measures have totaled some NIS 350 million ($90 million) since the new government has been sworn in.

The Biden administration has been pressuring Israel to increase the aid to the Palestinians' economy, saying that the PA is on the verge of collapse. But the Israeli willingness to play along despite PA leader Mahmoud Abbas continuing to pay terrorists has outraged some US congress members, with some saying that the president's increase of aid to the Palestinians runs against US law (and specifically the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits funding to the Palestinians so long as the "pay-for-slay" policy continues).

Israel Hayom has also learned that as part of the efforts to bolster normalization with Saudi Arabia, the US has placed immense pressure on Israel to make it take "steps toward bolstering the PA," which include letting Riyadh send funds to Ramallah. However, there are ways being explored to ensure these do not make it to terrorists' hands.

Col Richard Kemp: Will US misconceptions upset the Saudi-Israeli normalization applecart?
So is the stage set for normalization between Israel and Saudi as part of a wider agreement with the U.S.? The political challenges in Israel, with divergences in the coalition, especially on even token concessions to the Palestinians, as well as resistance to the nuclear elements from the opposition, should not be underestimated. But the real decider will be the administration in Washington.

MBS knows exactly what he wants and recognises that he currently has a unique opportunity to achieve it. With the growing strength of the China-Iran-Russia axis in the Middle East, the U.S. needs to do all it can to push back, especially against China. Tighter relations with Saudi Arabia, and the Western-facing economic and military projects that will go along with that, are important means to serve U.S. strategic objectives, to some extent a reversal of the Obama pivot away from the Middle East which has so demonstrably failed.

MBS also knows that Biden is desperate for foreign policy success in advance of the election. Even if he doesn’t actually stand in 2024, he still needs a Democratic Party victory — and a legacy for himself. Foreign affairs will not be the determining factor in the presidential race, but it could certainly help tip the balance in a tightly fought contest. Here, a historic peace deal between Saudi Arabia and one of America’s most popular allies, brokered by the president, will have more appeal to ordinary voters than the other strategic advantages, which is the reason normalisation with Israel has been given so much prominence in DC.

Securing an agreement with Saudi Arabia now is not, however, a foregone conclusion. An administration that started its term by denigrating Saudi Arabia, condemning its crown prince and curtailing military support has helped foment opposition to renewed cooperation among the public and its own party’s lawmakers. There is particular resistance to the idea of a defence pact, under which American soldiers could be sent to defend Saudi Arabia in the event of a war. A treaty would need support from two-thirds of the Senate. That might be a difficult sell but stands more chance of success under a Democratic government than it would in the future if there was a Republican president in the White House.

With sufficient party impetus, most Democratic senators, especially as the election approaches, will support a treaty put forward by Biden, and many Republicans are likely to vote in favour, given the stakes for Israel. The same proposal from a Republican president would be likely to meet strong opposition among Democratic senators.

So the stars seem to be aligning. Whether Israel will secure the long-sought normalisation, with the tremendous benefits that would bring for both countries and the region as a whole, depends almost totally on political will in Washington. That political will could, however, be undermined by a single rogue factor, and that is the Biden administration’s desire to carve out a place in history as Middle East peacemakers.

As I have said, Saudi understands a two-state solution is not possible. Biden, however, with advisers such as John Kerry, does not understand that and there is little doubt that he is pressing Saudi to demand it. Unless wiser counsels prevail in Washington the unattainable obsessions of the outdated peace processors could yet again frustrate historic progress in the Middle East.
White House: US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have ‘basic framework’ of normalization deal
Israel and Saudi Arabia have “hammered out ... a basic framework” for a landmark agreement to establish diplomatic relations, President Joe Biden’s team acknowledged amid reports that the accord will hinge on U.S. security guarantees.

“We very much continue active discussions with Israel and Saudi Arabia,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “And all sides have hammered out, I think, a basic framework for what we might be able to drive at.”

Israeli relations with most of its Muslim-majority neighbors have been fraught, at best, throughout the history of the modern Jewish state, which declared independence in 1948 and faced an invasion by five Arab states the next day. The unresolved Israeli-Palestinian dispute has functioned as an enduring justification for continued tensions between Israel and other Middle Eastern powers, but security pressures are reorganizing diplomatic relations.

“There's a lot of common denominators that are driving us forward in this process,” Kirby said Friday. “One of them is, of course, Iran, and the continued concerns that Israel has about Iran, Saudi Arabia has about Iran, and certainly we have about Iran.”

The progress was on display in Riyadh this week, where Saudi officials hosted a United Nations World Tourism Organization conference attended by an Israeli official — the first public high-level visit by an Israeli official to Saudi Arabia.

“We made a crack in the wall,” Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz said Friday.
Israel’s communications minister to visit Riyadh
Israeli Communication Minister Shlomo Karhi is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia next week, the second visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf Kingdom in as many weeks, Israeli officials said on Thursday.

The back-to-back ministerial trips to Riyadh are the latest indication that a normalization deal between the two countries, seen as increasingly likely in the coming months, is indeed in the offing.

The communications minister, a Likud Party Knesset member and close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is to attend a global conference of the Universal Postal Union in Riyadh, which he is slated to address.

Karhi, who is to be accompanied on the trip by fellow Likud MK David Bitan, the chair of the Knesset Economic Committee, is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with his Saudi colleagues during his trip.

Sukkah in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi officials have even tried to make special arrangements for Karhi, who is religious and will be traveling to Saudi Arabia over the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when observant Jews eat and even sleep in temporary outdoor booths known as sukkahs.

Communications corridor
His visit comes just months after news that a communications corridor connecting Asian and Arab countries with Europe and the West through Israel is expected to be constructed in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, in the latest sign of growing regional ties.

The proposal, which is expected to be signed in the coming months, will see the laying of fiber-optic cables along the 250-kilometer (155 mile) Europe Asia Pipeline Co. (EAPC) pipeline between Eilat and Ashkelon, while two-way underwater cables will be affixed between foreign countries and Israel.

Karhi’s visit also comes on the heels of the first-ever official visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli minister, Tourism Minister Haim Katz, who arrived in Riyadh this week for a gathering of the UN World Tourism Organization.
Iran’s Raisi slams normalization with Israel as ‘reactionary and regressive’
iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday denounced any attempts by regional countries to normalize relations with its arch-enemy Israel as “reactionary and regressive.”

The remarks came amid ongoing US-brokered negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia to establish formal ties, with the United States saying on Friday that the two countries are moving toward the outline of a deal.

“Normalizing relations with the Zionist regime is a reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world,” Raisi said during an international Islamic conference held in Tehran.

An Israeli delegation is expected in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, days after the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia also sent a delegation to the occupied West Bank on Wednesday for the first time in three decades in a bid to reassure the Palestinians ahead of the prospective deal.

Raisi on Sunday further labeled any normalization attempt as the “foreigners’ desire,” while stating that “surrender and compromise” regarding Israel were not on the table. This handout picture provided by the Palestinian Authority’s press office (PPO) shows PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) receiving the credentials of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Palestine Nayef al-Sudairi, at the former’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 26, 2023. (Thaer Ghanaim/PPO/AFP)

“The only option for all the fighters in the occupied land and the Islamic world is to resist and stand against the enemies,” he said, reiterating Iran’s position that Jerusalem must be “liberated.”

In 1967, Israel captured and then annexed East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the future capital of their proposed state.
Rabat and Jerusalem sign agricultural accord
Israeli Minister of Agriculture Avi Dichter and his Moroccan counterpart Mohamed Sadiki have signed an agreement to bolster agricultural cooperation between their two nations.

Dichter emphasized the importance of this cooperation, stating, “The declaration of intent on agricultural cooperation between Israel and Morocco is a significant step in our plan to expand Israel’s and Morocco’s international food security network. Our countries share common agricultural interests, along with challenges in other fields, and thanks to these warm relations we manage to reach wonderful places together.”

He stressed this cooperation’s role in global food security, especially amid increasing concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability. The agreement encompasses several areas of collaboration, including support for private agro-tech companies, the development of food supply chains, rural development, and agricultural production under challenging conditions, such as drought.

Israel’s status as an agro-tech innovation hub plays a central role in this cooperation, with the nation’s cutting-edge solutions for food production amid the changing climate. Dichter has made food security and sustainable agriculture a top priority, emphasizing the quality and sustainability of locally-grown produce.

The visit to Morocco is a significant step in strengthening agricultural and diplomatic ties between the two countries as it also underscores Israel’s commitment to the region.

House votes to cut salary of suspended Iran envoy, continue to fund UNRWA
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday night to pass appropriations bills for the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and State. The votes were 218-210, 220-208 and 216-212, respectively. The bills now head to the Senate.

An amendment to the U.S. State Department appropriations bill, which passed by a voice vote, reduced the salary of suspended Iran special envoy Robert Malley to $1.

Another amendment, which failed by a 213-218 vote, sought to “prohibit any funds from being made available for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency,” or UNRWA.

Congress also voted overwhelmingly to maintain the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem (360-67) and to keep designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organization (351-81), Jewish Insider reported, although neither was reported to be under serious consideration.

UK Immigration minister refuses meeting with border inspector over antisemitism
UK Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick declined a meeting with the national chief inspector of borders following concerns about a drafted report that made claims of Israel "ethnically cleansing" their Palestinian population, according to reports by UK media sources.

An academic paper written by David Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, was flagged due to a reference that the UK Home Office officials flagged for fears of antisemitism.

UK media reported that Neal claimed he was not an author of that specific section and had agreed to remove it following a meeting with government officials last month.

Neal, who is a former military police officer who received his appointment in March 2021 is responsible for monitoring the UK’s immigration, asylum, nationality, and customs needs and actions. Not only has he continually clashed with the Home Office since his appointment, but he has reportedly not met with Jenrick since his initial appointment two years ago.

Immigration minister Jenrick has allegedly refused to meet with him due to disputes over Israel-related language in an official draft submitted by Neal, UK media reported. The report remains unpublished and covers the topic of stateless people, including parts of an article on displaced Palestinians.

In addition to Palestinians, displaced people from Kuwait, Syria, and Myanmar were part of the selected text.

Neal claimed that the paper had already been accepted by the Home Office before the backlash started. He told UK media that he has not broken rules as a public appointee and has taken feedback from the Home Office "with care, diligence, and expedition." However, Jenrick reportedly will not meet with Neal until he has confirmation that the extract has indeed been removed.

What was the concerning text?
The extract regarding Palestinian refugees included claims from the 1970s that Israeli authorities used "administrative 'ethnic cleansing'" to strip Arabs in Jerusalem of both identification and residency rights.

The references were noticed by Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s private office, who immediately flagged the report for inappropriate content and as antisemitism.

Senior Senate Democrat Threatens to Block Military Aid to Egypt on Human Rights Grounds
The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee vowed on Saturday to block military aid and arms sales to Egypt if it does not take concrete steps to improve human rights in the country.

Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Cardin issued the threat in a statement, saying “it is imperative that we continue to hold the government of Egypt, and all governments, accountable for their human rights violations.”

The announcement came a day after U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said he had asked the State Department to pause a portion of military aid to Egypt conditioned on human rights criteria.

The stepped-up pressure follows the Sept. 22 federal indictment of the then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, tied partly to allegations that he had accepted bribes in exchange for wielding his influence to aid Egypt’s government.

Menendez denies wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty.

The Egyptian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cardin’s announcement.
Israel destroys Iranian weapons shipment in alleged Syria airstrike
The Israeli Air Force allegedly carried out an attack early Sunday morning on an Iranian arms shipment in Syria, west of the capital Damascus, according to several Syrian media reports in the country.

The attack was carried out between the villages of Al-Assad and Al-Dimas.

Explosions were heard in the Damascus area and air defense systems in Syria were activated, N12 reported.

Video of the air defense engaging missiles can be seen below:
IDF destroys second West Bank illegal gun production facility in week
Israeli security forces destroyed an illegal firearms production facility in the West Bank on Saturday night, the second such factory it has targeted in a week.

Five lathes were destroyed in Beitunya near Ramallah. During the operation, IDF, Israel Police, Border Police, and Shin Bet security agency operatives were attacked with stones, burning tires, and firebombs. Israeli forces suffered no casualties and employed anti-riot measures.

Video released by the IDF Spokesman shows that the forces disabled and dismantled the equipment, and set off explosives in the workshop.

Israeli forces arrest two in Abu Dis

In another operation, two wanted fugitives were arrested in Abu Dis in possession of an air pistol.

The IDF destroyed a firearms factory in Hebron on Wednesday. Israeli forces had confiscated four lathes, a few dozen 9 mm. cartridges, AR-15 type rifle parts, an old hunting rifle, and Hamas paraphernalia.

Palestinian terrorists often use a self-manufactured submachine gun, the Carlo, a crude imitation of the Karl Gustav weapon, that fires 9 mm. rounds.

The raids were held as the alertness of security officials remains high during the holiday season. Palestinian media have claimed Israelis are “storming” the Temple Mount area during the Sukkot holiday. Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades called for a “Jerusalem Intifada” on Sunday morning.
Israelis enter Palestinian village after their kibbutz comes under fire
Several Israelis crossed into Samaria and entered the nearby Palestinian village of Jalbun on Sunday, following a series of shooting attacks targeting their homes in Kibbutz Meirav.

Israel Defense Forces troops spotted the Israelis crossing the security fence and intervened to return them to the Israeli side.

There were no reports of confrontations during the incident, which came after residents met on Saturday night and decided to set up a local operations team to immediately respond to the wave of shootings and draw public attention to them.

On Friday night, as Jews were marking the beginning of the Sukkot holiday, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on Meirav, located on the slopes of Mount Gilboa, close to Jenin but within the Green Line.

IDF troops opened a manhunt, quickly identifying the terrorists and locating bullet casings in Jalbun.

“The shots were fired at a private home. If he wouldn’t have ducked, the owner would have paid with his life,” read a notice sent to residents of the kibbutz.

“We don’t intend to continue sitting helplessly waiting for a real tragedy. The writing, as well as the bullets, are on the wall; it’s only a matter of time until someone is killed. With full confidence in the IDF and its capabilities, we demand an immediate change in the security situation,” the missive continued.

Gazan Terrorists Threaten Escalation, Followed by Retraction
A Palestinian terrorist faction in the Gaza Strip threatened on Sunday to renew their protests near the Israel-Gaza border, citing hundreds of Jews making pilgrimages to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during Sukkot. The threat was then recanted.

The Gaza Strip, home to some 2.3 million Palestinians, had been rocked by violent protests in the past two weeks. Rioters had resorted to burning tires, throwing rocks and petrol bombs at Israeli troops. During the clashes the Israeli army often launched drone strikes targeting military posts of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

“Revolutionary Youth,” the terrorist group behind the riots, called off a rally along the security fence several hours after announcing it.

The call for unrest was made by certain group members who failed to consult with the leadership, the group said on its Telegram channel.

The statement added that the Palestinian group was still “closely monitoring” the “Zionist enemy’s” actions.

Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Gaza since Hamas wrenched the control of the Palestinian territory from Fatah in 2007.

Last week Israel reopened crossing points with Gaza, allowing thousands of Palestinian workers to get to their jobs in Israel and the West Bank, after nearly two weeks of closure prompted by violent protests.

US: Tehran can make nuclear bomb in less than two weeks
Iran has the infrastructure in place and the know-how to make a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction report.

“It is assessed that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program at this time, but has the capacity to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear device in less than two weeks,” said the report, which outlines Washington’s strategic approach to countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction globally.

“Further, the United States assesses Iran to be noncompliant with its CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] obligations. For example, Iran has not submitted a complete chemical weapons production facility declaration to comply with CWC processes. The United States is also concerned that Iran is pursuing dual-use central nervous system-acting chemicals for offensive purposes,” added the report.

Last month, Iran barred International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from overseeing its nuclear activities.

“I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure,” said IAEA Director Rafael Grossi at the time. “With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one-third of the core group of the agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran.”

Tehran’s move came in response to a warning issued by the United States, Britain, France and Germany (the E3) at the IAEA’s Board of Governors.
GOP Senators Call on Pentagon To Revoke Security Clearance of Official Linked to Iranian Government Group
The Pentagon must immediately revoke the security clearance of a senior official alleged this week to be part of a secret Iranian government-run propaganda network, a coalition of Republican senators said in a Friday letter to the Department of Defense as they launched an investigation into the matter.

Republican lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee have initiated an official probe into the Biden administration's hiring of Ariane Tabatabai, a senior Pentagon official with top-secret security clearance. Tabatabai was outed in a Semafor report as an alleged member of an Iranian-run influence network that reported back to Tehran's foreign ministry and helped push its policies among Washington policymakers.

The letter was exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon on Friday afternoon and is endorsed by 30 Republican senators, including Roger Wicker (Miss.), the Senate Armed Services Committee's ranking member. It is the most high-profile investigation into the security matter to date and follows on the heels of a similar probe launched earlier in the week by the House Armed Services Committee.

The senators demand the Pentagon "suspend Ms. Tabatabai's security clearance immediately pending further review, as the State Department did with her former supervisor, Robert Malley." Malley is the administration's Iran envoy who was removed from his post earlier this year for allegedly mishandling classified information.

"We find it simply unconscionable that a senior Department official would continue to hold a sensitive position despite her alleged participation in an Iranian government information operation," the senators wrote.

Dozens arrested in Iran in demonstration commemorating ‘Bloody Friday’ anniversary
Iranian security forces made dozens of arrests Saturday as protesters in the southeast commemorated the killing of dozens of demonstrators in the region one year ago, human rights groups said.

At least 104 people were killed, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO, in what is known as “Bloody Friday,” when security forces fired on a protest in Zahedan, the main city of Sistan-Baluchistan province, on September 30 last year.

The violence marked the single deadliest day of months-long protests that erupted in Iran last year.

The Zahedan protests were triggered by reports a teenage girl had been raped in custody by a police commander and took place in parallel to nationwide demonstrations sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code.

Activists have long complained that the ethnic Baluch population in Sistan-Baluchistan, who adhere to Sunni Islam instead of the Shiite branch of the faith dominant in Iran, suffer from discrimination.

Security forces fired tear gas and live rounds for a second straight day to disperse protesters who turned out in Zahedan to mark the anniversary, the Baluch-focused rights group Haalvsh said.

Throughout Saturday, businesses in Zahedan and other towns observed a general strike, it said, adding that “dozens” of people had been arrested.
Arsen Ostrovsky: If Universities Truly Want to Pursue DEI, It’s Time to Include Jewish Students
Although Penn President Liz Magill released a statement noting that some of the speakers at the event had a “troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people,” Penn failed to take any meaningful steps in response, claiming they “fiercely support the free exchange of ideas as central to our educational mission.”

It is inconceivable that Penn would have permitted such a festival had it promoted, say, hatred against members of the African American or LGBTQ community, and rightfully so. Yet such hatred and incitement against Jewish students is being excused and whitewashed, while their voices are being marginalized, silenced and excluded, all in the name of free speech and a perverse interpretation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policy.

Perhaps as recipients of federal funding, universities ought to be reminded of their obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and shared ancestry, or in circumstances where universities fail to take action against the creation of hostile environments on campus. This is a point that was also reinforced in the historic May 2023 White House Plan National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.

Indeed, legislation has already been proposed in Congress to rescind federal funding from universities that allow antisemitism on campuses.

It is imperative to recognize that, even in circumstances where antisemitic hate speech in question is protected under the First Amendment, there is still an obligation for university leaders to condemn these attacks on Jewish students, support them and underscore that their concerns are real.

In order to guide the universities to determine the kind of speech and actions that qualify as antisemitism, universities ought to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, the most widely endorsed definition of antisemitism in the world.

If universities truly want to pursue DEI, it is time Jewish students were included in this discussion and academic freedom no longer used as an excuse for Jew hatred.
Morton Klein: Jew-hating, Israel-hating lies about the Palestinian Conference at UPenn
The “Palestine Writes” event at University of Pennsylvania this past Yom Kippur weekend was not a “celebration of art and culture,” as claimed in a recent Daily Pennsylvanian article. Rather, as we feared and predicted would occur, a stream of speakers who have called for “Death to Israel” and Intifadas (anti-Jewish terror wars), incessantly libeled and incited hatred against Jews and Israel.[1]

Mocking Jewish Students Concerns While Attacking Jews and Jewish Students: It was evident that “Palestine Writes” could engender antisemitic attacks and harassment against Penn’s Jewish students and Jews across the country. This was unfortunately immediately borne out: Penn’s Hillel center was vandalized twice near the time of the event. We will be contending with the aftermath of the anti-Jewish hatred fomented at Palestine Writes for years.

Yet, disgracefully, in the event’s opening speech, Palestine Writes executive director Susan Abulhawa mocked and derided Jewish students’ legitimate and unfortunately well-founded concerns about the presence of many documented terrorism supporters and even a convicted terrorist at Palestine Writes. Abulhawa called these appropriate Jewish student concerns “hysterical and racist accusations that our presence here poses a threat to Jewish students on campus, making them feel unsafe and fearful of wearing their kippas. Again, this is an old, well- worn colonial script of the violent, dark, irrational and savage [Negro/unclear], which I will not dignify with a response.” Wild applause ensued.

But Abulhawa was not finished with directly inciting against Jewish students at Penn. Abulhawa also declared in her opening salvo: “So many of us in this room have had to watch our elders die in refugee camps that aren’t fit for rodents. All so they [Jews] can have an extra [sic] country that they want, the violence of which is on full display on this campus every year when Zionists have their so-called Birthright trips, propaganda tools to recruit young American Jews to become our colonizers, tormentors and lords.”

Abulhawa further attacked Israeli Jews on Penn’s campus as “actual Israeli war criminals, who have come to speak on this campus.”

Notably, even though Abulhawa’s speech was full of such hateful propaganda and incitement against Jews on Penn’s campus, and against the one Jewish state [there isn’t an “extra” one, as Abulhawa implied]; and even though Abulhawa attacked named Jewish organizations (including ZOA, Hillel, and Jewish Federations) and attacked powerful major donors (meaning Jewish donors) for trying to prevent anti-Jewish terror-supporters from appearing on campus, Abulhawa had the temerity to then deny that any of this was antisemitic.

In the same vein, Abulhawa lambasted “Zionists” [Jewish organizations] for pressuring “financial platforms like PayPal . . . to disallow Palestinian [Arab]s even the most mundane of transactions.” It turns out that those “mundane transactions” were apparently payments to support Palestinian terrorism and antisemitic boycotts: PayPal closed the account of BDS group Samidoun, which is closely linked with designated terrorist organization PFLP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).[2]

Abulhawa’s other opening pleasantries included referring to the Israel’s Jews (the majority of whom are native Middle Easterners) as “European colonizers [who] stole an entire country where we [Palestinian Arabs] are deeply rooted”; absurdly asserting that Palestinians are the real victims; accusing “Zionists” of perpetrating “unrelenting violence and racism” against Palestinian Arabs; and accusing “Zionists” of “destroying and building over [Palestinian’s] ancestral villages, cemeteries and archeological heritage.” In other words, she repeatedly accused Israel of exactly what Palestinian Arab terrorists are guilty of: unrelenting violence, racism and destruction.
US pro-Palestinian group lauds Second Intifada that ‘renewed flame of resistance’
The US National Students for Justice in Palestine celebrated the anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada, this week, saying the violent uprising that began in 2000 “renewed the flame of resistance” and “still terrifies the Zionist entity to this day.”

“Today on September 28th, we remember the Al-Aqsa Intifada (the Second Intifada),” SJP said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “The Second Intifada served as a continuation of the unwavering struggle for liberation.”

The Second Intifada lasted from 2000 to 2005 and for Israelis became synonymous with the suicide blasts and bus bombings that led to the deaths of over 1,000 civilians and soldiers. The uprising that followed the failed Camp David peace negotiations also saw intense clashes with Israeli troops that left over 3,000 Palestinians dead.

The SJP post praised the uprising for “forcing” the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and “marking the last time the Palestinian factions waged a united struggle.”

Israel withdrew from Gaza under then prime minister Ariel Sharon’s Disengagement Plan. In 2007, the Hamas terror group ousted the Palestinian Authority from the Strip, which it continues to rule until today.

SJP also said the violence “demonstrated armed struggle was still possible” and claimed that the result of the uprising “still terrifies the Zionist entity until this day.”

It said Israel had only been able to put down the uprising through “sheer brutality” and praised ongoing terror attacks against Israelis, saying it “renewed the flame of resistance… [that] is still burning.”
Jewish group waging 'political campaign' against anti-Zionism, Roger Waters claims
Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters has issued a statement in response to the documentary on his alleged antisemitic history, that was produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA).

On Waters’ website, on September 29, the singer wrote that “Earlier this month the Campaign Against Antisemitism contacted me about a film they have made. They gave me seven days to respond to multiple questions about matters dating back to 2002 and 2010.”

He went on to explain that he initially hadn’t taken the documentary seriously but “now that the attacks are in circulation, I want to put my response on record.”

In the statement, Waters’ connects the accusations of antisemitism against him to his anti-Zionist works, writing, “ I am active in the non-violent protest movement against the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its egregious treatment of Palestinians.

“Those who wish to conflate that position with antisemitism do a great disservice to us all.”

Waters goes on to accuse the CAA of “waging partisan political campaigns against critics of the state of Israel.” He also claimed that CAA is facing scrutiny after complaints had been filed to the Charity Commission.

Did Roger Waters deny making the antisemitic statements featured in the documentary?
Waters didn’t deny or confirm whether he made the statements featured in the documentary, instead claiming that “Truth is, I’m frequently mouthy and prone to irreverence, I can’t recall what I said 13 or more years ago.”

“I’ve worked closely for many years with many Jewish people, musicians and others. If I have upset the two individuals who appear in the film I’m sorry for that. But I can say with certainty that I am not, and have never been, an antisemite – as anyone who really knows me will testify.

“I know the Jewish people to be a diverse, interesting, and complicated bunch, just like the rest of humanity. Many are allies in the fight for equality and justice, in Israel, Palestine and around the world.

“The film totally distorts and misrepresents my views about the Israeli state and its political ideology, Zionism. It relies on a definition of antisemitism that sees criticizing Israel as inherently antisemitic and assumes that Zionism is an essential element in Jewish identity."

Waters issued the additional claim that “The CAA film manipulates footage and quotations to serve its agenda and is seriously misleading in many respects. What it says about my latest tour, This Is Not A Drill, repeats a series of falsehoods that have already been debunked, many times, not just by me, but in the German courts, after attempts were made to have my show banned there.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Special Exhibit Showcases Alleged Palestinian “Dispossession” in 1948, Providing No Context: Will The Media Take Note?
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), located in downtown Toronto, is a world-renowned collection of millions of natural artifacts, artwork and cultural antiquities, and boasts among the highest attendance of any museum in North America.

In addition to permanent offerings, the museum also displays a temporary gallery. Currently, it’s showcasing an exhibition entitled: “Being and Belonging: Contemporary Women Artists from the Islamic World and Beyond,” featuring 25 female artists with a connection to the Islamic world, covering such themes as “identity, power, sexuality, and home.” The exhibit opened in July 2023, and runs until January 2024.

However, one of the exhibits on display veers well beyond those topics, and into outright disinformation.

Created by artist Sama Alshaibi, an Iraqi-American whose mother’s family lived in Jaffa during the British Mandate period, and who currently teaches art at the University of Arizona, the two pieces of art portray a one-sided and extremely misleading history of what took place during Israel’s independence in 1948.

One of the artworks, “An Act of Possession,” portrays a hollowed-out suitcase made of aluminum, plywood and paper, and which according to its description accompanying the art, is a “symbol of forced migration.” Alshaibi is quoted on the wall as saying that the trunk “was made in 1948, the year my mother went from simply being a young girl to becoming a Palestinian refugee without the right to return to her homeland.”

Another quote of Alshaibi is featured on the wall, which reads: “I want my actual homeland, not the multi-generational inheritance of dispossession.”

In another piece of art, called “Eternal Love Song,” Alshaibi is portrayed in a photograph balancing the suitcase on her head while holding a harvesting tool. According to the official description, these items “signify the Palestinian people’s dispossession of their homes and displacement from their land since 1948.”

While art is certainly an intensely subjective endeavour, history is another matter, and Alshaibi’s description of her family’s history, as well as the ROM’s official description of what took place in 1948, is at best highly misleading, and at worst outright disinformation.
Newsweek Ignores Arafat’s Terrorism, Excuses Abbas’ Antisemitism
Instead of giving its readers an in-depth and accurate understanding of a pressing news issue, Newsweek’s recent piece about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does exactly the opposite.

But it does so in a subtle manner. By its structure, choice of interviewees, use of terminology and omissions, it blames Israel for everything that is wrong while making excuses for Palestinians – including the terrorism of their late leader Yasser Arafat and the antisemitism of their current President Mahmoud Abbas.

This theme is clear from the fear-mongering headline: “The Palestinian Dream is Dying – and It’s A Nightmare for Israel,” which sounds more like that of an opinion column than an objective reportage.

But opinions aside – the headline is subtly structured in a way that creates an illogical linkage, with its first part referring to passive dreamers and its second part pointing at those responsible for the dream’s failure. When people’s dreams are dying, it’s usually a nightmare primarily for themselves and not others.

The article’s accompanying video is also problematic. Captioned “Damage in Jenin Following Israeli Operation,” it provides no other context for the scenes of destruction — such as the fact that it was a counterterrorism operation.

Writer Tom O’Connor — whom Newsweek’s website describes as an “award-winning Senior Writer of Foreign Policy and Deputy Editor of National Security and Foreign Policy” — has significant previous form, having among others, been responsible for two biased articles that the magazine had to retract and apologize for following HonestReporting’s complaints back in 2017.

Yet he continues writing for Newsweek on Israeli issues and his current piece is littered with many more problems.

When the article delves into much-needed background and some quotes from Palestinian talking heads (one of whom practically justifies terrorism as an act of desperation), O’Connor’s bias really comes to the fore.

Guardian allows its Jerusalem correspondent to lie about Gaza
Since Hamas came to power, Israel – like any nation faced with a heavily armed extremist militia on its border – enacted a series of security measures to protect its civilians – including a naval blockade deemed legal by a UN commission, as well as various restrictions on travel and on the territory’s import of military and dual-use items.

The Gaza withdrawal was, in the mind of most Israelis, one of the three times since the early 90s that the logic of ‘land for peace’ was proven to be far more complicated than the conventional wisdom suggested. The first such occurrence was the bloody 2nd Intifada, which occurred not only after Oslo-mandated Israeli withdrawals from large chunks of the West Bank, but, also, after Israel offered a peace proposal that, if Yasser Arafat would have accepted it, would have created a Palestinian state.

The third example relates to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon, with resulted in Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy militia, strengthening its grip on Lebanon and increasing its threat to Israel’s security.

None of this is an argument against territorial withdrawal. It’s merely a reminder of the recent real-world consequences of its implementation to the lives of millions of Israelis, and why the series of events in Gaza – as well as in the West Bank and Lebanon – are so crucial in order to properly understand the failure to reach to peaceful solution to the conflict.

Further, by erasing Israel’s contentious and painful withdrawal, and the consequences of that policy, the Guardian is obfuscating the role of decisions made by the leadership of Hamas (as well as Palestinians who voted for the terrorist group after the disengagement) for Gaza’s misery and for the periodic rounds of conflict.

As we’ve enunciated previously on these pages, the media’s failure to assign Palestinians agency, and to acknowledge how their bad decisions have led to bad outcomes, arguably represents the most serious pattern of bias in their coverage of the region. The story of Gaza reminds us that there are multiple players in the region, that decisions sometimes have unintended consequences and that not everything is in Israel’s control.

We’ve complained to Guardian editors about the error.
Gaza ‘Occupied and ‘Under Siege’ According to The Observer
The reality is that it is not the non-existent “siege” that has devastated Gaza but the actions of its Hamas rulers whom McKernan never thinks to attribute any responsibility for the situation. Were Hamas to have focused its attention on the livelihoods and welfare of its people instead of building terror infrastructure, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, and initiating terrorist activities, the Gaza Strip may be a very different place today.

It’s far easier for McKernan to simply blame Israel and absolve Hamas. But what kind of “siege” allows basic food items, medicine, and other humanitarian goods into Gaza? Since Hamas came to power, trucks pass over the border with Israel almost every day, laden with these supplies. There have been no reports of starvation or health epidemics in Gaza.

McKernan also says:
The restrictions caused by the occupation may limit artistic expression but it remains a lifeline for many.

We’ve already established that Gaza is not “occupied.” But “the occupation” is terminology usually used by Palestinians to describe Israel or the IDF. It is not terminology that should be adopted by a supposedly mainstream media outlet or journalist.

Failure to Differentiate Between Terrorists and Civilians
McKernan refers to Israel’s five-day Operation Shield and Arrow in May 2023 as “a surprise offensive that left 33 Palestinians and two people in Israel dead” — failing to differentiate between combatants and civilians.

Of the 33 dead Palestinians, 22 of them, a majority, were confirmed as members of terror organizations or involved in violence. The two people killed in Israel were both civilians.

We’ve contacted The Observer to ask that the reference to Gaza as “occupied” is corrected as well as registering our complaints about the innate bias in the story.

Remembering Kristallnacht and the Kindertransport
It is amazing how quickly we forget. On the High Holy Days during the COVID pandemic, many prayer services in Israel took place in open spaces, and we all wore masks. Extraneous noises often made it difficult to hear the prayer leader, and that could affect concentration. But God heard our prayers, and our synagogues were there when the pandemic had passed.

I remember the times in Germany in the mid-1930s when worshipers were requested not to congregate but to disperse quickly after exiting the synagogue on Shabbat and holidays. Many synagogues and private homes avoided building a sukkah that could be seen from outside, to prevent drawing attention to the presence of Jews.

It will be 85 years ago this year, when after the night of November 9 to 10, 1938, there were no more synagogues to which we could return. It was the infamous Kristallnacht, during which all synagogues in Germany, Austria, and the already Nazi-occupied western part of Czechoslovakia were burned down, and our holy Torah scrolls and artifacts were either destroyed or stolen, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps. That was officially the beginning of the Holocaust, the end of Jewish life under the Nazis.

Fortunately, I could spend the following High Holy Days in the wonderful community of teenage members of Brit Chalutzin Dati’im in England and again celebrate Simhat Torah with our sifrei Torah. I arrived there with the famous Kindertransport.

Commemorating Kindertransport with March of the Living
Following Sukkot this year, the Kindertransport will be commemorated under the auspices of March of the Living, when three still fit kinder will be flown to Germany to travel the original route via Holland to England, which was taken by almost 10,000 Jewish children without their parents. There will be several events on the way, and a film crew will record the journey. I am privileged to be one of the three.

For all those still among us all over the world who managed to escape the clutches of the Nazis with the Kindertransport between Kristallnacht and the beginning of WWII on September 1, 1939, or indeed their children, this year the High Holy Days will be particularly poignant. Today, our beloved State of Israel will ensure that what happened 85 years ago can never be repeated and we are able to celebrate openly, each in his or her traditional way, with dedication and without fear of hostile action.

Rosh Hashanah, which means “the beginning of the year,” is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. But how did Tishrei become the first month? The name stems from the Akkadian language spoken by the Babylonians and means “beginning.” But beginning of what? The Babylonian Jews, the most ancient people in the region, counted the beginning of the year in the spring, the month of Nisan.
Gallant visits Holocaust memorial site in Berlin after historic Arrow-3 sale
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited the Platform 17 Holocaust memorial site in Berlin on Friday as part of his delegation's trip to Germany before departing back to Israel.

Gallant, who visited the platform along with the Defense Ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. (res) Eyal Zamir and Israeli aerospace industry leaders, was joined by the German defense minister and a Holocaust survivor living in the city together with his wife.

The defense minister's visit primarily focused on a deal for the sale of the Arrow 3 defense system, which was finalized on Wednesday.

Gallant said of the visit, "today I mark a very exciting and important day, here in Berlin, the capital of Germany. 80 years after 50,000 Jews were sent to their deaths in this place, at Platform 17 in Berlin, we are here at the head of an Israeli delegation from the Defense Ministry, the IDF, and the aerospace industry, signing a deal worth about four billion dollars, in order to protect Germany.”

A message to the Israeli public
“I want to say to the public in Israel: we have the ability to protect ourselves, our families, and our children and so we shall."

"This is the purpose of the defense apparatus,” he concluded.
80 years since Vilnius Ghetto liquidation
80 years since the Vilnius Ghetto in Lithuania was liquidated, Jewish leaders hold a commemoration. Professor of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, Dina Porat joins to shed light on the tragedy of Vilnius Ghetto.

Israelis develop AI-powered bot to fight antisemites online
A new Israeli development by Holocaust survivors' grandchildren uses generative artificial intelligence to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial by automatically creating draft posts to rebut the claims, without requiring human intervention.

"Savee, a Chrome add-on, analyzes texts and simultaneously collects counterfacts from a validated database. Then, the tool summarizing these facts in order to phrase an accurate facts-based response," the group said in a statement on its website.

Savee's databases are exclusively reliable, such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel and anyone can install the Chrome extension on their browser to start using it

"We're not trying to convince radical antisemites who are a lost cause, filled with hatred and bigotry; we're targeting internet users exposed to antisemitic content who are not themselves antisemites and lack a firm stance on the issue," Ofer Nidam, a third generation to a survivor and one of the developers said. "This is where the battle for truth really matters, and it's the true goal of technology, which is why we prioritize substantive discourse. We're not here to 'debate,' but to persuade."

The potential of this technology extends far beyond combating anti-Semitism, as it can be trained to spread truth and debunk falsehoods on any topic.

"In the backend – once activated, Savee sends the highlighted text to a Botify system, which converts the text into mathematical representation in order to analyze it. The system then connects to a preverified database, and looks for the most relevant data for the specific text in question. Lastly, the system prompts chat-GPT to phrase a summarized answer based solely on the facts found in the database," the company explains on its website. "Once the user has downloaded the add-on, all the user has to do in order to operate Savee is to highlight the text, right-click and the tool will offer him an answer within seconds, directly to the comment's text box. The user can then send the answer as is or edit it as desired."
Major Auction House Pledges Better Due Diligence After Being Forced to Cancel Jewelry Event Over Items’ Nazi Ties
After being forced to cancel an auction amid backlash over the items’ links to Nazi Germany, the auction house Christie’s has vowed to research the provenance of objects from the Holocaust era that it auctions off as well as the original sources of wealth used to acquire them in order to ensure they were not looted by Nazis.

In a statement this week, Christie’s said it aims to to understand “the history of the original sources of wealth” used to obtain items it seeks to auction, “particularly when this wealth was built during the Nazi period” from 1933-1945.

“As the ideas and historical perspectives that shape the art world continue to evolve and change, Christie’s continues to adapt and to advance our own understanding and approach to our global business practices,” the auction house added. “As we widen the lens of our research, we are engaged in a current effort to broaden our cataloguing process. In today’s increasingly complex environment, through essential research and important ongoing dialogue, we continue to learn more about the historical record which can best inform our processes and decisions.”

The statement came after Christie’s faced worldwide scrutiny for auctioning jewelry owned by an Austrian art collector whose wealth was amassed by buying Jewish companies sold under duress in Nazi Germany. Despite demands to call off the auction, most of the 700-piece jewelry collection from the estate of Heidi Horten was sold in May. It also set a new record for the world’s most valuable single collection of jewelry to be auctioned at $202 million.

Christie’s ultimately called off the second half of the auction, scheduled for November, when criticism piled up about Horten’s source of wealth.

Horten’s late husband, German businessman Helmut Horten, was a retail magnate who built his empire in the 1930s by purchasing businesses that Jews were forced to sell by the Nazis. Helmut, who was also a member of the Nazi Party during World War II, left a significant portion of his wealth to his wife when he died in 1987.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) welcomed Christie’s statement.
Holocaust denier running in Minnesota school board election
A known Holocaust denier and antisemitic writer has submitted his candidacy for a school board election in Minnesota, US according to an expose from Newsweek published earlier this week.

The man, named Vaughn Klingenberg, is running for the Roseville Area Schools board.

Klingenberg appeared on a podcast in July 2023, in which he accused “big Zionist Jews" of plotting the Holocaust to undermine “little Jews”.

The name was spotted on a list of candidates for the school board elections, having been submitted on August 14.

The election will see six new representatives on the board and allow those elected to oversee the education of close to 9,000 school-aged children.

The school board was quick to distance themselves from the candidate.

"Roseville Area Schools strongly rejects any language or stance that denies the truth of the Holocaust and its devastating impact not only for Jewish people but our world," Roseville Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Jenny Loeck told Newsweek. "We stand for truth, human rights, and human dignity."

According to his podcast appearance, Klingenberg sees himself as helping to enlighten Jews. He sees self-described ‘Holocaust truthers’ as “doing the Jews a favor” by supplying them with the relevant “facts” concerning the genocide of European Jews by Nazi Germany.

Netflix series ‘Spy Ops’ looks deeply into Mossad history
If you’re interested in the history of Israeli espionage, you will want to see the Netflix series, Spy Ops, which features two full episodes on “The Wrath of God,” the famous Mossad operation to avenge the massacre of 11 Israeli team members at the 1972 Munich Olympic games.

Ido Aharoni, who was the consul general of Israel in New York from 2010-2016 and is a senior faculty member at Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University, was a content consultant on the series and spoke about the why Wrath of God was much more than a routine operation.

“The Munich massacre was unique,” he said in an interview.

“Terrorism, however painful, however devastating... never posed an existential threat to Israel, just as 9/11 did not destroy America. But this was different. Before this, there had been many horrible terrorist attacks on Israel, and the hijackings had started in the early 70s; but this was on the world stage, and I think the fact that it was on German soil and because it happened there less than three decades after the Holocaust, it had all the ingredients that required a different kind of response. This was the reason that the producers felt that it was worth two episodes.”

While the series covers many espionage operations, including US attempts to dismantle the Taliban in Afghanistan following 9/11, a plot to kill the Pope, a mission by the US to recover a Soviet submarine from the ocean floor, and much more, the two well-crafted episodes on the Wrath of God will be the high point for many viewers.

“The producers took a very fact-based approach to telling this story,” said Aharoni. In addition to extensive archival footage, the series features interviews with a number of people involved who have rarely, or never, spoken about the massacre and revenge operation. These include Avraham Melamed, an assistant coach to the Israeli swimming team who also competed as an Olympic swimmer in the past, and Meron Medzini, an adviser to prime minister Golda Meir.

“I’ve seen many documentaries about this but this one is very high quality,” Aharoni said.
Israel identifies remains of soldier slain in Independence War
Israeli authorities have identified the remains of Dov Broder, who was killed in action during the War of Independence 75 years ago, the military announced on Sunday.

In 2006, the IDF’s Missing Persons Unit began an investigation to identify the remains buried at an anonymous gravesite in the Segula Cemetery in Petach Tikvah.

The probe included a meticulous examination of documents and testimonies from the period, questioning witnesses from the battle and examining records from the evacuation of casualties to Beilinson Hospital.

The investigation determined that Broder died on May 13, 1948, during Operation Medina, in which the Alexandroni Brigade launched an offensive to capture Kfar Saba. Broder, an armored vehicle driver, was sent to battle to provide cover for another force, but his unit was attacked. He was killed and his body was not identified until now.

As such, he was recognized as a fallen soldier whose remains were missing. In all, 29 soldiers were killed in the battle, and the village was captured by Israeli forces.

Broder’s family including his 95-year-old widow, Batya, met on Saturday night with IDF Personnel Directorate chief Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, who informed them that Dov’s body was identified.

Broder was born in Vilna, Lithuania (then Poland) in 1927 and immigrated to British-controlled Mandatory Palestine when he was seven years old.

A ceremony will be held soon to lay a new tombstone for Broder at the grave in Petach Tikvah that for more than seven decades had been labeled as “anonymous.”
Israel Defense Forces: Unity—A Song by the IDF
Our soldiers serve in harmony 🎶The IDF stood united against its enemies throughout history. This is the defining strength of Israel and its army—the unity of our people.

York welcomes first resident Rabbi since 1290
The city of York in northern England welcomes its first official Rabbi in 800 years. Newly appointed Rabbi Elisheva Salamo speaks with our Calev Ben-David about this historic appointment.

Record Crowds Expected at Temple Mount During Sukkot Celebrations
Authorities at the Temple Mount are gearing up for a significant influx of Jewish worshipers during the Sukkot celebrations, according to a statement released on Friday.

Already, there has been a noticeable increase in visitors to the site in Jerusalem’s Old City, with a 20 percent surge during the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur festivities compared to last year.

This resurgence in interest is attributed to the relatively calm atmosphere on the site, partly due to efforts to keep potential disruptors at bay during recent festivals. Authorities commend the police’s endeavors to maintain a peaceful environment on the premises.

The heightened enthusiasm among visitors often results in longer queues due to stringent entry checks. However, steps might be taken to streamline access, potentially allowing multiple groups of worshipers to enter simultaneously.

Access to the Temple Mount will be regulated with specific hours from Sunday to Thursday, while remaining closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

While there have been a few incidents involving worshipers, some of whom were detained for religious actions like prostration or using the shofar, site managers stress that the majority of visitors are welcomed with respect and courtesy. They further emphasize that widely publicized arrest cases are typically the actions of individuals seeking to challenge current guidelines.

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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