Monday, December 25, 2023

From Ian:

The UN’s Disgraceful Response to Hamas Massacre Can’t Go Unchallenged
Just two days after the October 7 massacre, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) demonstrated exactly why it is one of the UN’s most notorious and hypocritical organizations. The Pakistani representative, Zaman Mehdi, called for and received a minute’s silence to remember the victims in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and elsewhere, saying it was a result of more than “seven decades of foreign occupation, aggression and disrespect for international law.” He didn’t mention Israel, and he also failed to mention Hamas — the perpetrators of the massacre. By referring to “seven decades,” he made it very clear that he attributed all blame to Israel’s very existence since 1948.

Also disturbingly, despite the overwhelming forensic evidence of sexual assault against Jewish women, including videos, these rapes were completely ignored by the United Nations, including by groups whose entire purpose is to protect women. Only after two months and an international campaign to call attention to the UN’s complete failure to even acknowledge the sick sexual violence, did the UN Women organization finally issue a weak condemnation.

Then there is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA, whose staff, officials and teachers have long been exposed for involvement in terrorist violence in the past. Despite its supposed pretext of helping Palestinian refugees, it is one of the major impediments to any kind of peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The majority of UNRWA’s $1.6 billion budget, of which Australia contributes $20 million, promotes policies that support the “right of return” for Palestinians into Israel — meaning ending the existence of the State of Israel.

During the current conflict, it was revealed that UNRWA staff celebrated the massacre, and weapons caches have been discovered in UNRWA facilities. It was also revealed that a UNRWA teacher held a hostage captive in their attic. UNRWA denies all this, saying they are being defamed.

Finally, there is the most powerful person in the UN hierarchy, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who had the nerve, even as Hamas terrorists were still running wild and massacring civilians throughout towns and villages of southern Israel, to call for “maximum restraint” from Israel. He cemented his continued descent into the moral abyss by encouraging “understanding” of the attacks by Hamas, saying they “did not happen in a vacuum,” and were a result of the “occupation.”

What happened on October 7 in southern Israel was pure unadulterated evil. The UN had a chance to choose to stand on the side of good against that evil, but as it’s so often done in the past, it made the wrong choice, adding to its ever-growing shame.
Melanie Phillips: The failure of Holocaust education
Since the Hamas pogrom of October 7 in southern Israel, a tsunami of hatred against the Jews has surged across the west. Decent people everywhere are aghast and astonished that this should be the response by so many to the greatest single act of mass murder against Jews since the Holocaust.

They are even more perplexed that a recurring characteristic of such attacks is to tear down the posters of the Israeli hostages that have been pasted up in public areas in a forlorn attempt to keep their fate alive in the public mind so that they may be returned home.

The reason for such driven and unhinged behaviour against posters stuck on walls is as obvious as it is appalling. Certain people simply cannot tolerate the fact of Jewish victimhood. So intolerable do they find this, they have to literally tear down the evidence with their own hands. No less significant is the way they do so, with both verbal and facial expressions of the most intense disgust. They find the idea of Jewish victims disgusting. And that’s because they find the very idea of Jews disgusting. What they are doing to those posters is what they would like to do to Israeli Jews.

For evidence of that, watch this video by Avi Horowitz who went to San Francisco State university to “raise money to kill Jews”. He found 28 out of 35 people with whom he engaged supported this aim, and 17 out of 35 actually offered him money “to kill Jews”.

How is such abhorrent behaviour to be explained? A major reason is that many if not most of these Jew-haters subscribe to the doctrine of “intersectional” identity politics and victim culture, which holds that some groups of people are oppressed and others are oppressors. The “oppressed” can never be held responsible for bad things they may do; the “oppressors” can never be victims of the “oppressed” or of anyone else. The haters believe that the Jews are all-powerful, that they drive capitalism and thus control the levers of world power which they manipulate in their own interests and against those of everyone else.

Why do they believe that? Because “intersectional” identity politics is the product of an education system which has long been captured by Marxist ideology, at the root of which lies an exterminatory hatred of the Jewish people. In other words, those who subscribe to identity politics are motivated at root by Jew-hatred.

And that also motivates those who are indifferent to identity politics but who believe — because historic Christian culture embedded in the west tells them so — that the Jews are motivated by vengeance and blood-lust. So they have eagerly swallowed the demonisation and defamatory lies of the Palestinian narrative, parroted day in, day out by the Hamas Broadcasting Corporation, Sky News and certain posh newspapers which spread the libel that the Israelis are wanton child-killers.

The fact that more than 1200 Israelis were slaughtered on October 7 by the supposedly “oppressed” Palestinians and more than 230 taken hostage, with an unknown number subsequently tortured, raped and murdered by those “oppressed” Palestinians while more than 100 remain captive in the hell-holes of Hamas, gets in the way of that narrative.
‘Tis the season for United Nations to see Jewish holidays as less equal
Leading with a tree emoji, the official United Nations account on X posted on Sunday to its 16.4 million followers: “Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating!”

A JNS review of prior holiday messages on the United Nations account revealed a single instance where the international body—which has long been accused of antisemitism and of unfairly targeting the Jewish state—appeared to celebrate a Jewish holiday.

That lone instance, from last April, came when the United Nations managed to lump a Jewish holiday together with several others.

“‘Peace is needed today more than ever.’ During a special interfaith ‘Prayer for Peace’ moment, António Guterres,” the U.N. secretary-general, “says that even the calendar is sending a message of unity, as Ramadan, Easter, Passover and the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi coincide this month,” the United Nations posted on April 14.

The United Nations shared something similar again on April 14 and on April 6. Those appear to be the only times that the United Nations has posted about a Jewish holiday.

A search of all the handle’s posts on X yielded no other results for “Passover,” and no results for “Pesach,” “Hanukkah,” “Chanukah,” “Shavuot,” “Shavuos,” “Sukkot,” “Sukkos,” “Purim,” “Yom Kippur,” “Rosh Hashanah” nor “High Holidays.” “Jewish holiday” and “Jewish holidays” also returned no results.

“Festival of lights,” returned four results, but none related to the Jewish festival of lights. “During Diwali, the festival of lights—celebrated in India and by followers of many faiths across the world—clay lamps are lit to signify the victory of good over evil,” the United Nations posted on Nov. 11. The U.N. account also mentioned “festival of lights” and wished a happy Diwali in 2022, 2020, 2019 and 2018. (It also wished a happy Diwali in 2021, and two more times in 2020, without mentioning “festival of lights.”)

Human Rights Watch report accusing Meta of censoring pro-Palestinian posts is riddled with serious failures
A report by HRW published last week claimed that "Meta’s policies and practices have been silencing voices in support of Palestine and Palestinian human rights on Instagram and Facebook." However, an examination by Calcalist identifies biases in the collection of data and in the method of analysis, in a way that undermines the foundation of the organization's conclusions

Has Meta consistently censored pro-Palestinian posts on Facebook and Instagram since the war broke out on October 7? This is the claim that is at the center of an extensive report by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), which was published last Thursday and received significant coverage in major media outlets across the world. However, an examination by Calcalist identifies serious biases in the organization's data collection and analysis, in a way that undermines the foundation of the organization's conclusions.

According to HRW, during October and November it reviewd 1,050 cases, 1,049 involved "peaceful" content in support of Palestine that HRW says "was censored or otherwise unduly suppressed," while one case involved removal of content in support of Israel. The documented posts were posted by users from more than 60 countries, most of them in English, and all were described as expressing "peaceful" support for the Palestinians expressed in various ways. "The censorship of content related to Palestine on Instagram and Facebook is systemic and global," claims HRW in the report it published. "Meta’s inconsistent enforcement of its own policies led to the erroneous removal of content about Palestine."

The organization's findings received international attention, and their highlights were published in leading and influential media such as CNN, Forbes, The Guardian and El Pais. However, the organization's data collection and data analysis methodology suggests that HRW's conclusions rest on an unreliable foundation.

First, this type of analysis done by the organization should be based on a large representative sample of posts from both sides of the conflict, which will include content that was removed alongside content that was not removed and present a statistical analysis that will examine the proportion of justified removals alongside the proportion of cases in which infringing content was not removed both in relation to pro-Palestinian posts and pro-Israeli posts. And this, on the basis of well-defined, clear and transparent standards.
Antisemitism and Holocaust denial are rife, just look at Stephen Fry’s X trolls
Last week it was announced that Stephen Fry would be delivering this year’s alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.

What refreshing news. After all, it was only in 2008 that the Holocaust-denying, Jew-hating president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was given the platform.

So to hear instead that Fry – a national treasure and a powerful campaigner on issues including gay rights and mental health – will be using this moment to raise awareness of the hatred and racism directed at Jewish people right now, is very welcome.

Antisemitism has risen year on year but the events of recent months have shaken many of us to our core. It is unbelievable that today, 90 years after Hitler rose to power and almost 80 years since his antisemitic crimes were exposed to the world, we are seeing antisemitism reach levels that I have never witnessed before in my lifetime.

At the same time we have seen a stark rise in Islamophobia, and many people are feeling isolated and frightened.

And so much of the vitriol we have seen over recent months has taken place and been amplified on social media platforms.

For us at the Holocaust Educational Trust, as in any modern organisation, social media has long given us opportunities to reach new audiences and to hold important conversations. Yet last month we took the unprecedented decision to turn off comments on a post on our X (formerly Twitter) account due to the sickening nature of the antisemitic responses we were receiving.

Comments including “Holocaust is fake zionist jews story and did not happened” and “no one believes jews lies anymore” [sic].

In between the outright denial of the Holocaust were slogans: “From the River to the Sea… Israehell will never be”; “Keep the world clean” accompanied by an image of the star of David being thrown in the bin; and a comment about Hamas that said “they are freedom fighters fighting the occupiers’s [sic] they have all of my support”. These were all under a single post.
Israel says it will block United Nations visa requests
Israel said on Monday that it will deny a UN employee's visa request and not extend the visa of another UN employee.

The big picture: The UN has been critical of Israel's military actions in Gaza since Oct. 7, particularly regarding civilian deaths, and this is an example of Israel's government bristling at the blowback.

What they're saying: Eli Cohen, Israel's minister of foreign affairs, wrote in a post on X that "the conduct of the UN since October 7th is a disgrace to the organization and the international community."
- He added that the organization has "legitimized war crimes ... ignored the acts of rape committed against Israeli women" and that Israel "will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terrorist organization's propaganda."
- The UN did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Netanyahu in Gaza: The war is far from over
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, during which he said that the war against Hamas is not nearly finished.

“We are not stopping; we are continuing to battle. We will be intensifying the fighting in the coming days, as this will be a long war. It is not close to over,” Netanyahu told soldiers.

“We are proud of you and trust you. We see the determination and the desire to continue until the end,” he added.

Netanyahu was joined by Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amir Baram and other high-ranking officers.

In a Christmas message delivered Sunday night, the premier explained that the Jewish state was confronting “monsters who murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children, who raped and beheaded women, who burned babies alive, who took babies hostages.

“This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism,” said Netanyahu.

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli leader said he had told U.S. President Joe Biden that the war would continue for “however long it takes.

“I appreciate the steadfast U.S. position—which supports our war effort—in the U.N. Security Council. I told President Biden yesterday that we will fight until absolute victory,” said Netanyahu.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject Egypt’s proposal to give up power in Gaza in return for ceasefire – report
The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups have reportedly rejected an Egyptian proposal that would see Hamas give up control of the Strip in return for a permanent ceasefire.

According to two Egyptian sources cited by the Reuters news agency, the plan has been rejected by both of the terror groups.

Hamas and PIJ are said to be unwilling to discuss any concessions beyond the release of hostages.

“Hamas seeks to end the Israeli aggression against our people, the massacres and genocide, and we discussed with our Egyptian brothers the ways to do that,” a Hamas official who recently visited Cairo tells Reuters.

“We also said that the aid for our people must keep going and must increase and it must reach all the population in the north and the south,” the official says. “After the aggression is stopped and the aid increased we are ready to discuss prisoner swaps.”

The first stage of the Egyptian plan, which is backed by Qatar, would be a two-week halt to the fighting, extendable to three or four, in exchange for the release of 40 hostages. In return, Israel would release 120 Palestinian security prisoners of the same categories. During this time, hostilities would stop and humanitarian aid would enter Gaza.

The second phase would see an Egypt-sponsored “Palestinian national talk” aimed at ending the division between Palestinian factions — mainly the Fatah party-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas — and leading to the formation of a technocratic government in the West Bank and Gaza that would oversee the reconstruction of the Strip and pave the way for Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections.

The third stage would include a comprehensive ceasefire, the release of the remaining Israeli hostages, including soldiers, in return for a to-be-determined number of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel would withdraw its forces from cities in the Gaza Strip and allow displaced Gazans from the enclave’s north to return to their homes.

Before Gaza self-rule, Israel must implement de-Hamasization
Absolute defeat
Having said all this, and with all the differences noted, Israel has something to learn from the German story. First, Hamas must be brought to absolute defeat, not just a “decisive blow.” The German experience teaches that Gazans need to understand that the Hamas idea brought terrible suffering upon them and that it has been ridden from this world.

And there is another lesson: As long as Hamas does not surrender, there is nothing to talk about regarding the rehabilitation of the Strip. This is contrary to Israel’s intention, as expressed this week by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, to return Gazans to their homes in the northern Strip.

If rehabilitation begins before Hamas disappears, the Gazans’ state of mind will have not been seared with their responsibility for the horrors. From a military point of view, there is also the question of why rebuild a neighborhood if two minutes later Hamas will take control of it again.

After surrender and clearing the area from terrorists, there must be a thorough de-Hamasization process. Whether we rule over the Strip or some kind of international entity does, it is vital to implement reforms that uproot Hamas ideology and other antisemitic and anti-Israel content. These must be basic preconditions.

From the German example, it can be learned that there are ways to eradicate malignant ideology. Even if success is not complete, the effort will have not been in vain. The threat emanating from Gaza has lasted for 75 years. After what happened, we are permitted, and obligated, to do everything possible so that it is permanently removed.

Therefore, for example, trials against Hamas people should be held in Gaza, not Jerusalem. Every home, and every classroom, in the Strip must see them, even if it means closing down the internet and controlling the media. If Gazans want to enjoy the pleasures of democracy, they have to prove they are worthy of it. They can’t have it both ways.

Any future government in the Strip must be extremely anti-Hamas. In addition, it must not engage in the Palestinian armed conflict. That itself would be fuel to reignite the fire. Whoever rules Gaza, their role will be to manage civilian life and clean up any kind of incitement against Israel or Jews. No compromises, no blinking, no “ifs” or “buts.”

No UNRWA, no Palestinian Authority
UNRWA cannot continue operating in Gaza, period. Here, by the way, the comparison to Germany works very well. After World War II, the U.N. founded a refugee agency, which has resettled tens of millions of refugees on the continent and around the world since then. UNRWA, on the other hand, has not solved the problem of a single Palestinian refugee and instead educates future generations to kill Jews, and in some cases even physically assists them in doing so.

Israel of course cannot allow the Palestinian Authority to be the body controlling Gaza. The reforms required in the West Bank are no less than those required in Gaza. The Holocaust-denier P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet condemned Hamas’s Nazi-like crimes.

Gazans should be educated about tolerance, inclusiveness and acceptance of the Jew as a normative neighbor. This sounds fanciful, and there is no doubt that the murderous demons will not disappear overnight or even in a decade. But if we want life, there is no other way.

In an ideal world, it would be better if a foreign rule of any kind, Arab or Western, would clean up the Gazan cesspool. The chances of this happening are slim. Anyone entering the Strip, especially if Hamas is not annihilated, will encounter violent resistance and flee for their lives.

There are therefore all the reasons to think that the full burden, civilian and not just security, will ultimately fall on our shoulders. It’s worth internalizing this. Statements by Israel that “the day after, the Palestinians will rule themselves” are premature.

Before Israel commits to Palestinian self-rule, it must first make clear in intricate detail how the de-Hamasization process will be carried out. This is a vital condition for survival.
Why moving to the Sinai peninsula is the solution for Gaza's Palestinians - opinion
The 365 km² Gaza Strip has remained a hot potato in Israel-Egypt relations since its conquest by the Egyptian Army in 1948 as part of Egypt’s failed attempt to annihilate the newly-born State of Israel. Egypt invaded Israel along two main axes, reaching the outskirts of Jerusalem and only 20 km. short of Tel Aviv, but the Israel Defense Forces pushed off this offensive. These battles generated a wave of refugees that found haven in the Gaza Strip, which remained under Egyptian military control until 1967.

Since 1948, and up until the current partial release of some of the Israeli babies, children, and women taken hostage by Hamas terrorists, the Egyptians have been significantly involved in the politics and economy of the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians locked the residents of Gaza and the refugees of the 1948 War in the Gaza Strip, and, with the backing of the United Nations, still deny them the right to rebuild their lives in all Arab countries, including in the adjacent Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. This harsh policy was one of the major and long-term catalysts for the intensifying human stagnation of now circa 1.8 million inhabitants within the Strip.

Beyond the abduction, mutilation, burning, rape, and murder of 1,200 Israelis and other nationals, the Hamas terrorist invasion of Israel on October 7 destroyed many Israeli agricultural villages. This barbarian murder-fest led the IDF to conquer the northern Gaza Strip and the Hamas-infested Gaza metropolis as part of Israel’s goal to destroy Hamas terror capabilities. As civilians were ordered to move south, the southern Gaza Strip became a haven for most of Gaza’s residents.

The battles in the northern Strip generated significant damage and destruction of buildings utilized by Hamas. Damage to the immense terror-tunnel system further destabilized the metropolis’s substrate. Major portions of the metropolis are considerably incapacitated and cannot be simply fixed. Rather, the damaged and destroyed structures must be completely torn down. The tunneled – and consequently exploded and bulldozed – soil must undergo extensive environmental and engineering rehabilitation.

In other words, the metropolis has to be fully evacuated, redesigned, monitored, and only then rebuilt to provide habitable and economic conducive conditions. Such an effort requires unique expertise and immense funding and will take considerable time that cannot be calculated. Therefore, the war is anticipated to end with a unique humanitarian challenge of how to construct a better future for the people of Gaza.
The Hamas split over its war with Israel
Hamas leaders based in Qatar have been holding talks with Palestinian officials from Fatah, the political organization that dominates the Palestinian Authority which governs the West Bank. The once rival organizations are in discussions about forming an alliance for governing Gaza after the war with Israel.

For the Palestinian Authority, this is an opportunity to return to Gaza nearly eighteen years after the organization lost the legislative elections to Hamas in 2006. The PA has been deeply unpopular among Palestinians for some time. A poll conducted in Gaza and the West Bank at the end of November found that support for Hamas tripled since the start of the war, while support for the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, dropped significantly. Over 90 percent want Abbas to resign. Many would rather have Hamas in power, and more would like Abbas replaced by convicted killer Marwan Barghouti, who is currently imprisoned in Israel.

The Palestinian Authority clearly needs Hamas, or Barghouti, in order to effectively govern Gaza. Palestinians view the PA as corrupt and weak. Some view it as a pawn in the hands of Israel and the US. An alliance with Hamas, or a change in leadership, will help legitimize their return to power.

For Hamas, an alliance means a chance to keep some control over Gaza and continue the armed struggle against Israel. Without it, Hamas leaders in Qatar fear that Israel will continue to fight Hamas and that it will eventually lose all hold over Gaza. They think that it’s time for Hamas to cut its losses.

Not everyone in Hamas agrees. While the leadership in Qatar favors a deal with the PA, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, vehemently objects to it. Sinwar does not believe that the war is lost. From his hiding place in Gaza, he thinks that the Israeli Defense Forces will soon move to low intensity fighting, with smaller forces and more localized assaults. This could ease the pressure on Hamas and give them a fighting chance. He is trying to buy time by keeping his troops hidden in tunnels and by prolonging talks over a ceasefire deal. The two differing viewpoints mean that Hamas’s leadership are on a collision course.

In 1st public message since Oct. 7, Sinwar says Hamas facing ‘unprecedented battle’ but won’t give up
In his first public message since October 7, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar says the terror group is facing a “fierce, violent and unprecedented battle” against Israel.

However, he claims that the terror group is on its way to crushing the Israel Defense Forces, and referring to Israel, he says Hamas will not submit to “the occupation’s conditions.”

Sinwar falsely claims that the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has killed over a thousand Israeli soldiers. According to the IDF, 156 soldiers have been killed in the Israeli ground operation in Gaza, far below the figures given by the terror leader. Over 300 members of the security forces were killed in the October 7 onslaught.

The terror leader also gives inflated claims of the number of Israeli soldiers injured in the war, and the amount of Israeli military equipment that has been destroyed.

Sinwar’s announcement comes as the terror group faces growing military pressure. The IDF is “gradually completing” its goals in northern Gaza and is continuing operations in the Khan Younis area in the south of the Strip, according to a statement by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Friday. Gallant issued a renewed threat against Sinwar, saying he will soon “meet the barrels of our guns.”
Standing over Sinwar’s crater of a house, an inside look at Khan Yunis - comment

Footage reveals intricate two-level Hamas HQs where 5 hostages’ bodies were found
Eerie video surfaced Sunday revealing the intricate two-level underground headquarters of Hamas’ Northern Brigade where the bodies of five hostages were found.

The footage, released by the Israeli army, shows off the massive underground hub discovered dozens of meters deep in Gaza’s Jabaliya neighborhood, which has seen some of the most intense fighting of the war in recent weeks.

The video features Israeli soldiers first uncovering a weapons stash hidden inside a building — which houses an elevator shaft to the complex tunnel system below.

The entire network was more than a square third-of-a-mile in size and stretched beneath a nearby school and hospital, connecting to the home of the former leader of Hamas’ northern brigade, Ahmed Ghandour, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, the Times of Israel said.

The tunnel system had a working full bathroom, as well as other toilets, a water cooler area and workshop stations containing scores of rifle ammo.

The tunnel was destroyed by the IDF days ago after the army completed its scan of the area and announced that the Hamas Jabaliya battalion had been broken.

The IDF conducted a raid to gain access to the tunnel system after intelligence reports earlier in the month indicated that the bodies of at least two hostages were located in the Jabaliya area.

Gaza's Indonesian Hospital has traces of two Hamas hostages
The IDF announced Monday night that it found traces of two hostages on the grounds of the Indonesian Hospital near Jabalya in northern Gaza.

According to the IDF, a yellow Toyota Corolla found in an internal hospital area belonged to Samer Talalka, who was kidnapped by Hamas during the October 7 massacre. Talalka was one of three hostages mistakenly shot by IDF troops on December 15.

Additionally, blood traced to an unspecified hostage was found inside that vehicle along with pieces of a rocket-propelled grenade.

The IDF announced as well on Monday that two more soldiers fell in battles in Gaza: Sgt. Rani Tamir, 20, and St.-Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Nitai Meisels, 30. Tamir, from Ganei Am, served in the 50th Battalion of the Nahal Brigade and was killed in a battle in northern Gaza. Meisels, from Rehovot, was a soldier in the Armored Corps and was killed in a battle in northern Gaza as well.

The IDF did not provide information about what intelligence it might have regarding Hamas’s handling of the second hostage, but said that these findings, along with another vehicle found on the hospital grounds that was used in the October 7 attacks, tied the hospital directly to Hamas and the massacre.

IDF kills Hamas terrorists hiding in Gaza schools
Israeli soldiers fought Hamas terrorists operating inside two United Nations schools in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday.

The military said the terrorists were hiding inside the Al Rafaa and Zavaha schools in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City.

“This is further evidence that Hamas uses the civilian population and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as human shields for its terrorist activity,” added the IDF.

After killing the terrorists, IDF Nahal Brigade troops located dozens of explosive devices hidden inside UNRWA bags, along with Kalashnikov rifles and 15 suicide belts.

The IDF said that some of the terrorists in the schools were members of Islamic Jihad. Several had participated in the Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 persons during Hamas’s attack on Israeli communities near the Gaza border.

Iran warns Israel will pay after top IRGC commander killed in Syria airstrike

Seth Frantzman: The Hezbollah tunnel threat emerges again
Five years after Israel launched Operation Northern Shield against Hezbollah cross-border tunnels, there are concerns about the Hezbollah tunnel threat again. It’s important to understand the context here. Hezbollah has extensive experience tunneling underground. Hamas tunnels have been discovered to be much larger and more extensive than previously thought. Therefore, is it possible the Hezbollah tunnel threat is also larger than previously believed?

This was the question raised last week after a giant Hamas tunnel was revealed near Erez. The tunnel was wide enough for a car to drive through in parts. In addition, the IDF has discovered other massive multi-layered tunnels. While 1,500 tunnel shafts have been found, it appears there are thousands more. So what about Lebanon today? IDF Northern Command head Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin was quoted at Ynet saying to regional councils in the north that information about the tunnel threat will not be withheld. The IDF is "conducting searches to locate any terrorist infrastructure both above and below the ground. If a threat is identified, we will not keep it a secret from anyone,” Gordin said.

The Alma Research and Education Center, which focuses on northern threats, noted on December 18 “following the reveal of Hamas' strategic tunnel in Gaza (Dec 17), the food chain of Iranian proxies is clear. First Hezbollah, then everything else. If these are the capabilities of Hamas, then what are the capabilities of Hezbollah in the context of building strategic tunnels?”

An article from Maariv includes other details about an Alma report. These tunnels were built with North Korean assistance, an Alma report in July 2021 by Alma researcher Tal Beeri noted. “In our estimation, after the Second Lebanon War of 2006, Hezbollah, with the help of the North Koreans and the Iranians, set up a project forming a network of "inter-regional" tunnels in Lebanon, a network significantly larger than the "Hamas" metro (in our assessment, Hamas used Iranian and North Korean knowledge to build its tunnels as well).”

One of the tunnels is 45km in length. These are strategic tunnels that can also enable vehicles to travel in them.

In May 2021 Kan even reported on a tunnel that supposedly stretched from Beirut to southern Lebanon. The overall context of the Hezbollah tunnel threat is that part of the threat was already known. In fact Israel had chosen to defer an operation in Gaza in the fall of 2018 to act against the tunnel threat on the northern border.
Hezbollah withdraws Radwan force from Israeli border in fear of attack
Hizbullah began withdrawing its elite Radwan forces from southern Lebanon over the weekend, amid fears over a surprise IDF attack, according to Israeli media.

At least 123 Hizbullah terrorists have been killed by IDF precision strikes along the Lebanese border in two months, Hizbullah said Saturday.

Thousands of Hizbullah operatives were repositioned further away from Israeli territory in addition to the Radwan forces.
IAF jets target Hezbollah sites in Lebanon

Melanie Phillips: The crisis in the Red Sea
Good grief! The British Foreign Secretary has said something sensible.

He told the Telegraph :
Iran is a thoroughly malign influence in the region and in the world – there’s no doubt about that. You’ve got the Houthis, you’ve got Hezbollah, you’ve got the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq that have actually been attacking British and American bases, troops. And, of course, Hamas. So you’ve got all of these proxies, and I think it’s incredibly important that, first of all, Iran receives an incredibly clear message that this escalation will not be tolerated.

Second of all, we need to work with our allies to develop a really strong set of deterrent measures against Iran, and it’s important that we do that. The level of danger and insecurity in the world is at an extremely high level compared with previous years and decades, and the Iran threat is a part of that picture.

You don’t say, Foreign Secretary! Or rather, a number of us have said precisely that for the past eight years, ever since Cameron, when he was the British Prime Minister, was absolutely gung-ho for the catastrophic Iran deal brokered by US President Barack Obama (whose fan-boy Cameron was). Cameron’s government was an absolute cheerleader for that deal, which would have enabled a legitimate Iranian nuclear weapon after a delay of a mere few years while pretending to stop its development, and which enabled Iran to receive billions in sanctions relief which helped it become the regional hegemon of genocidal terrorism and war.

At the time, sources close to Cameron’s Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, caused my jaw to drop to the floor by telling me airily that the Obama agreement with Iran was an excellent deal that would put Iran back in its box, that it was a terrific success by the UK team which had played a key role in getting it through, and that they didn’t know why the Iranian regime was considered repressive since they had witnessed nothing but public courtesy and enthusiasm when their official motorcades had been waved through the streets by respectful police officers.

I kid you not.

Since then, the Biden administration (aka Obama 2.0) has made the disaster of US policy towards Iran even worse by grovelling to the regime to restart the nuclear deal, by relieving sanctions yet further through the back door, and by doing virtually nothing in response to the increasingly bold attacks on US assets by Iranian proxies except to redouble US grovelling. The result of this double whammy of America empowerment of Iran and the repeated signalling that the US would never take military action to stop the regime’s aggression led directly to the slaughter in Israel by Iran’s proxy, Hamas, with funding and assistance by Tehran, on October 7.

Red Cross refused to give medicine to Gaza hostages, Netanyahu tells
An International Committee of the Red Cross representative refused to bring a box of life-saving medicine to Israelis taken hostage in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in a Monday address to the Knesset plenum.

"I met with the Red Cross; I handed them a box of medicine for some of the hostages shown here. Some of them really need it...I told a representative to take this box to Rafah; she said no. It was a difficult conversation," he told a special Knesset session attended by families of hostages, who were heard shouting "Now!" at the prime minister as he explained the return of all hostages would take time.

"We are sparing no effort, both seen and hidden, to bring all of the hostages home," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu asks China to help free Hamas hostage Noa Argamani
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked China to help secure the release of hostage Noa Argamani, whose mother, Liora, is from China and is dying of cancer.

Netanyahu described how he had recently requested the intervention of Chinese President Xi Jinping through the country’s Ambassador Cai Run during a speech he delivered to the Knesset on Monday describing his efforts to free the hostages.

Netanyahu told Cai to send a message directly to Xi.

“There is a daughter of a Chinese mother and I am personally asking for your interference in the matter of Noa Argamani."

Netanyahu explained to Cai that there is also the issue here of her mother who just wants to see her daughter one last time before she dies.

The ambassador “assured me,” Netanyahu said, that the message had been delivered.

Argamani's story strikes cord
Argamani is one of some 250 hostages kidnapped during Hamas’ infiltration of southern Israel on October 7, an attack during which 1,200 people were killed.

Some 110 of those hostages have been released through a limited deal. It’s presumed that some 129 captives are still in Gaza, while the bodies of some 11 captives have also been retrieved.

Netanyahu has been under pressure to find a way to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

The story of Argamani, 26, who is a student at Ben Gurion University, has struck a particular emotional cord because she was among those filmed on October 7, as she was taken into Gaza on a motorcycle, begging her captors not to kill her.
Gaza hostages' families shout Netanyahu down in special Knesset session

Mother of Hamas victim Shani Louk on facing first Christmas without her daughter

Devastated Kibbutz Nir Oz lost 47 members, with 30 more taken hostage by Hamas

Oct. 7 victim Shani Gabay was buried with stranger; family thought she was abducted
The remains of Shani Gabay, who was killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, were mistakenly buried with those of another woman, her brother said Sunday, raising questions about the thoroughness of the DNA checks conducted on charred and mutilated bodies, and whether others thought to be missing may have suffered the same fate.

For weeks following the massacres, Gabay’s family was under the mistaken impression that she had been kidnapped and was captive in Gaza, after authorities were unable to find any of her remains. Only the chance discovery of a distinctive piece of jewelry eventually led Gabay’s loved ones to her.

On October 7, Gabay attended the Supernova rave, where Hamas terrorists slaughtered more than 350 partygoers during their rampage through southern Israel, in which they massacred a total of some 1,200 people and seized more than 240 hostages.

The assault at the music festival began with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. Gabay was in her car at the time, and pulled over to find cover. She found a field shelter near Kibbutz Alumim, a short distance from the music festival, where she hid, not knowing that terrorists were gunning down partygoers under the cover of rockets.

Gabay was shot but managed to flee the besieged rocket shelter, escaping into an ambulance with several other partygoers. Hamas terrorists later attacked the vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade, setting it on fire and killing all those inside.

But her family didn’t know any of the details surrounding her final moments. In an interview with the Kan public broadcaster on October 9, they said that the last time they heard from her was around 9 a.m. the morning of the attack, when she said she had been shot in the leg and was hiding from terrorists in some sort of structure, but was unable to describe where it was.

Caroline Glick: It's a War on Christmas
Hamas supporters destroy Christmas celebrations worldwide, Biden doubles down on "West Bank violence" and we review the status of Christians in the Middle East in 2023.

Call Me Back PodCast: A Shift in the War – with Haviv Rettig Gur
Hosted by Dan Senor
The Hamas-Israel War, nearing its three month mark, is now the longest war in Israel’s history since Israel’s War of Independence (1948/49).

The first phase of this war, which took place over the three weeks following October 7, was largely conducted from the air. The second phase, the ground invasion, began almost two months ago (on October 27), in which the IDF took over most of Northern Gaza and a few pockets in southern Gaza.

During the past week it has been reported that the IDF is preparing for a third phase in the war, expected to last many months, if not longer.

What will this new phase look like? What are the many considerations shaping this new phase? How are Israeli society and Israeli politics reacting to this emerging shift? These are some of the issues we discuss in our weekly check-in with Haviv Rettig Gur of the Times of Israel.

Israeli content creator debunks myths about Hamas and the war in Gaza
Israeli content creator debunks myths about Hamas and the war going on in Gaza. Content creator Idan Nimtso details how he creates engaging content.

Who Is to Blame for the Anti-Semitism of Young Americans?
The international dimension of Marxist “social justice” theory is set out in Leninist “postcolonial theory.” The theory posits that among countries, Western countries—as imperialists and colonizers—are the “oppressors” and non-Western countries are the innocent “victims” of Western oppression. This remarkably anti-historical theory neglects the many empires throughout history and even in the contemporary world, including the vast Arab Islamic Empire, the Chinese Empire, and the Inka, Aztec, and Zulu Empires, among many others.

Folded into this accusation against the West is the claim that Western societies invented and imposed slavery, even though slavery was common in the ancient world and in every empire since (until the industrial revolution), including the Arab Islamic Empire and Turkish Ottoman Islamic Empire.

Amazingly, little Israel has become a giant villain in the minds of social justice warriors as an imperial colonizer, despite Jews being indigenous to the Holy Land and having no country outside of it. When the Romans invaded ancient Israel before the birth of Jesus, they found only Jews living there. Muslims invaded and occupied it six centuries later. So the claim that Israelis are “colonial settlers” doesn’t hold water. Aside from the small population of Jews who never left the Holy Land, most of the returnees were refugees, half from Arab countries.

In the attempt to impose the “oppressor” designation on Israel, there are common and repeated but preposterous accusations.

One accusation is that Israel has engaged in genocide against the Palestinians. However, the facts show a vast increase in the Palestinian population, from 156,000 to 2,100,000 in Israel itself, and from 80,000 to 2,000,000 in Gaza—hardly an indication of genocide. In contrast, Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries by being expropriated and expelled in 1948. As for Christians, the population of Christians under the Muslim-dominated Palestinian Authority shrunk from 73,000 in 1911 to 50,000 in 2009.

Another accusation is that Israel, as a Jewish state, has imposed apartheid thus separating and oppressing Palestinians. The facts are that Arab citizens of Israel, even leaving aside the many Jewish Israelis who originate from Arab countries, have equal citizens’ rights with Israeli Jews and participate in all Israeli institutions, all the way up to the Supreme Court. And, given that many Arab and non-Arab countries are officially Muslim countries—for example, the Islamic Republic of Iran—the fact that Israel is Jewish hardly makes it uniquely at fault. And, unlike in most Muslim countries, all religions in Israel—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Baha’i—can be worshiped freely and without restriction.

Finally, in North America, race activists have claimed that Jews are whites who oppress the Palestinian people of colour. Given that many of the Palestinians and Jews originate in the same Middle Eastern countries, claiming racial difference and opposition is absurd. As well, genetic studies show the close ancestry of Jews and Arabs. Then there are the Israeli Jews of colour, from Ethiopia, India, China, and elsewhere. The racial opposition claims by such biased parties as the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization reflects a cultural imperialism inappropriately imposing American racial discourse in the wider world.

Daniel Greenfield: Hamas Supporters Declare War on Christmas
“Joy is canceled,” read the signs wielded by Hamas supporters protesting a Christmas tree lighting at Columbia University. While a student group tried to sing, the terror backers shrieked, “there’s no room for celebration.” And no room for anything except terrorism and hate.

Supporters of the Islamic terrorist group took a special pleasure in attacking Christianity.

Carolers singing “Gloria in excelsis deo” or “Glory to God in the highest” at the Washington Square Park Christmas tree near New York University were shouted down by Muslim and leftist allies shrieking, “Shut it down! Shut it down!”

People have been killed for merely drawing cartoons of Mohammed, but Muslims feel empowered to shout down Christian hymns before Christmas a few miles from Ground Zero.

On the Boston Common, Hamas supporters defaced a nativity scene to read, “Jesus was Palestinian.”

Pro-Hamas rioters attacked the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting in Manhattan. The Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood organization (the parent group of Hamas) whose mission is to promote “Islam as a total way of life” and Samidoun, a terrorist front group banned in Israel and Germany, announced plans to “Flood the Tree Lightning for Gaza”.

The ‘Flood’ name was a reference to Al-Aqsa Flood: the Hamas name for the atrocities of Oct 7.

Families were blocked from getting to the annual Christmas tradition as Hamas supporters rioted, assaulted police officers and chanted calls for the destruction of Israel and America.

Carols by Candlelight gatecrasher is arrested after pro-Palestine protesters stormed onto the stage at Channel 9 event in Melbourne in front of shocked presenters David Campbell and Sarah Abo
A Pro-Palestine protester has been arrested after interrupting the annual Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne on Sunday.

A 21-year-old Brunswick woman was arrested and has been issued an infringement notice for carrying a controlled weapon while a second person was moved on by police.

Another two protesters were denied entry to the event according to a statement from Victoria Police.

On Christmas Eve, children performing at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl stage were rushed to safety after several protesters carrying Palestine flags descended out of nowhere to interrupt the show.

The Channel 9 cameras were filming hosts David Campbell and Sarah Abo when the incident unfolded during the live broadcast.

One protester even tried to grab the microphone from Mr Campbell, managing to say 'while you're carolling, kids are dying in Gaza' before the audio was cut.

Mr Campbell interrupted his scripted dialogue when he realised the commotion on stage wasn't part of the show.

'Hang on one second,' he said.

'Nice and easy.'

The singer tried to keep the crowd calm and informed as security guards removed the protesters from the stage.

'It's all good, thank you everybody, everyone's allowed to have their moment,' Mr Campbell said.

'The kids are safe, and they're going to come back out.

'It's important to come together on a night like this too when there's a lot of pain out there and a lot of people are experiencing it.'
Pro Hamas protesters invade stage of carols by candlelight in Melbourne Australia

Pope decries Israel’s ‘appalling harvest’ of civilian victims
Pope Francis on Monday described children dying in wars, including in the Gaza Strip, the “little Jesuses of today,” and said Israeli strikes were reaping an “appalling harvest” of civilians.

Speaking from St. Peter’s Basilica to a crowd of thousands in the square below, Francis in his Christmas Day message decried the deaths of innocents around the world, giving particular attention to the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

“May [peace] come in Israel and Palestine, where war is devastating the lives of those peoples. I embrace them all, particularly the Christian communities of Gaza and the entire Holy Land,” Francis said.

“I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid,” he added.

He also called the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terrorists “abominable” and appealed for the release of the 129 hostages still held in Gaza.

The Vatican supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Francis called for “persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

He also blamed the weapons industry for hostilities around the world, Reuters reported.

“And how can we even speak of peace, when arms production, sales and trade are on the rise,” Francis said. “It should be talked about and written about, so as to bring to light the interests and the profits that move the puppet-strings of war.”
AOC slammed over Christmas message about Israel-Hamas war: ‘Jew hate’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez likens Palestinians to Jesus while describing Israel as a violent occupying force in an online Christmas post, prompting critics to slam what they call her blatant “Jew hate.”

In her Instagram story on Christmas Eve, the lefty New York Democrat shared a photo of a child in rubble in the Gaza Strip and said she is praying “for the peace and protection of the innocent in Gaza and the occupied territories.

“In the story of Christmas, Christ was born in modern-day Palestine under the threat of a government engaged in a massacre of innocents,” she wrote.

“He was part of a targeted population being indiscriminately killed to protect an unjust leader’s power. Mary and Joseph, displaced by violence and forced to flee, became refugees in Egypt with a newborn waiting to one day return home.

“Thousands of years later, right-wing forces are violently occupying Bethlehem as similar stories unfold for today’s Palestinians, so much so that the Christian community in Bethlehem has canceled this year’s Christmas Eve celebrations out of both [fear for their] safety and respect,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

“And yet, also today, holy children are still being born in a place of unspeakable violence — for every child born, of any identity and from any place, is sacred. Especially the children of Gaza,” AOC said.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pictured speaking about the Israel-Gaza war and calling for a ceasefire during a press conference at the House Triangle/Capitol Hill in on Dec. 14.

“The entire story of Christmas and Christ himself is about standing with the poor and powerless, the marginalized and maligned, the refugees and immigrants, the outcast and misunderstood without exception,” she wrote.

“This high Christian holiday is about honoring the precious sanctity of a family that, if the story were to unfold today, would be Jewish Palestinians,” the Democrat said.

“Merry Christmas. May there be peace on Earth, amen.”

Finland Considers Boycott of Eurovision Due to Israeli Participation; Irish PM Supports Israel’s Inclusion

Six more schools, districts under Title VI investigation
Earlier this month, the U.S. Education Department announced Title VI investigations of Rutgers University in New Jersey, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Washington-Seattle, Whitman College in Washington, Stanford University in California and the University of California-Los Angeles.

In recent weeks, the department has announced six more investigations, of University of Illinois-Chicago, Drexel University (Philadelphia), Springfield Public Schools (Ill.), Chandler Unified District (Ariz.), University of California-Davis and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Last month, the department said that Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Columbia University were under investigation.

The institutions are all being probed about alleged “discrimination involving shared ancestry.”

While the department didn’t say what exactly the Philadelphia school was under investigation for, “Drexel president John Fry sent an email to the Drexel community Wednesday afternoon noting the investigation was looking into the school’s response to reported harassment of students on the basis of shared Jewish ancestry, specifically ‘the arson of a door of a suite at Race Street Residence Hall on Oct. 10, 2023,’” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week.

ABC 7 Chicago reported that the University of Illinois complaint came from Palestine Legal in 2022, but Charles Cohen, executive director of Metro Chicago Hillel, part of the Jewish United Fund, told the station that there is “an entire climate of isolation of alienation for Jewish students.”

“While there hasn’t been a claim filed against UIC, [from] you know, an antisemitic standpoint, that could change any day,” he added.
Northwestern University’s Gaslighting on Antisemitism
There are a few things wrong with this. First is the idea that members of the Northwestern community haven’t professed their support and enthusiasm for Hamas and the attacks of October 7. In fact, we have the receipts right here at National Review.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Northwestern said in its statement immediately after October 7 that “the occupied and oppressed have the undeniable right to resist and seek their freedom without stigmatization as instigators and terrorists.”

Northwestern University Community for Human Rights said in its post–October 7 statement that it “stands in solidarity with Palestinian freedom fighters,” meaning Hamas. It also accused Jews of controlling the media through “Zionist propaganda.”

Northwestern’s Asian American Studies Program issued its own letter after October 7, defending Hamas as a “political group,” saying comparisons to ISIS are Islamophobic, and calling on the university to denounce anti-Hamas speech on campus and stand behind the purported victims (terrorist supporters, that is).

And, wouldn’t you know it, members of the Middle Eastern and North African Student Association at Northwestern said they “resoundingly support Palestinian resistance,” which is the claim the university says is “outlandish” and “not based on facts.”

Even Schill said in his first message after October 7 that “there are no doubt differences among our students and faculty on what Hamas did.” This first message was essentially an announcement that he wouldn’t make an institutional statement on the terrorist attacks. He professed his personal revulsion to the atrocities on October 7 but would not have the university take a position on whether the indiscriminate murder of civilians is bad (a strange thing indeed to have different opinions on).

He followed that initial message with an October 13 explanation of why he refused to offer a statement, seemingly accusing of bad faith the people who disliked his sudden turnaround on whether a university should discuss events outside its campus — this is a guy who, when he was president of the University of Oregon, issued statements on seemingly every political event under the sun. He finally did say that “the abhorrent and horrific actions of Hamas on Saturday are clearly antithetical to Northwestern’s values,” but that doesn’t erase his first communication in which he refused to clarify whether that was the case.
TikTok refuses to run ads featuring Gaza hostages, claiming they’re ‘too political’

Over 200 Americans move TO Israel since Hamas barbaric attack launched a war and wave of antisemitism

Pro-Israel congressman, seeking reelection, pays solidarity visit
Former House Rep. Tom Suozzi landed in Israel on Friday to demonstrate his “unequivocal support for Israel and the Jewish people throughout the world during this very tough time.”

In his three terms as representative for New York’s 3rd Congressional District (2017-2023), Suozzi, 61, called himself “one of the most reliable non-Jewish Democratic votes in the House of Representatives.”

Following the Oct. 7 attack, Suozzi issued a strong defense of the Jewish state, calling on “America and the global community to redouble our commitment to Israel,” and describing Hamas as “an evil that cannot be appeased or negotiated with.”

The statement was of a piece with Suozzi’s actions in Congress, where he proved a pillar of pro-Israel support. In 2017, he co-sponsored with Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) a bill that is highly relevant today—the Shields Act.

Passed into law on Dec. 21, 2018, it punishes the use of civilians as human shields. The law calls on the U.S. President to submit an annual list to Congress of all Hezbollah and Hamas members, or any agency, that uses civilians to protect military targets. The president will impose “U.S.-based property-blocking and visa sanctions” on those individuals and agencies, the law states.

Suozzi has spoken against members of his own party who’ve made anti-Jewish comments.
Celebrities visit Israel to show their support to the nation at war
Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, celebrities, influencers and supporters have paid solidarity visits to the Jewish state even as its war against the terrorist group rages on.

This week, American actress Debra Messing, best known for her starring role in “Will & Grace,” toured Kibbutz Kfar Aza, visited Israel Defense Forces soldiers on the frontlines, walked through a Hamas tunnel and met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

In November, Messing addressed the “March for Israel” gathering in Washington, D.C., where she called for the release of all the hostages being held captive in the Gaza Strip. She also called for “the safety of the 2.2 million Gazans also held hostage by Hamas.”

Messing made waves on social media when she joined Broadway community members in singing a rendition of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables, which garnered over 400,000 views on YouTube.

Since landing in Israel on Dec. 12, American actor Michael Rapaport, best known for playing Gary in “Friends,” appeared in a skit on the satirical show “Eretz Nehederet” that mocked U.S. university administrators for their failure to confront antisemitism on campus.

Israeli Gold Medalist to Sell Medal He Won on Oct. 7 to Help Victims of Hamas Terror
Olympic gold medalist Artem Dolgopyat of Israel celebrates on the podium with his medal, Ariake Gymnastics Centre; Tokyo, Japan; August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Israel’s 2020 Olympic gold medalist in gymastics announced on Monday that he will be selling a world championship medal that he earned on October 7, the day of Hamas’ onslaught against Israel.

The 26-year-old gymnast, who was Israel’s second gold medalist when he took home the top prize in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Floor Exercise, said that all proceeds from the sale will go towards benefiting communities in the Gaza periphery that have been impacted by the Israel-Hamas war.

“I part with the medal without pain but with a lot of emotion,” Artem Dolgopyat, who was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Israel at the age of 12, said. “It is a precious medal. A medal that was all my dreams, a medal that is the peak of my ambitions after the Olympic medal. But today I know that there is something even more important than that. I know that above all, Israeli society is important. I won’t lie, it’s not easy for me, but I feel that through the auction of the medal, I will be able to truly give back to the country that has given me so much.”

The October 7 world championship event held in Belgium was Dolgopyat’s third go at the competition. In the previous two contests he had earned silver.

“It could have been the happiest day for me and for the country, but it wasn’t,” Dolgopyat said about his victory in October.

The starting bid for the medal is $100,000 and will be directed to the Shoresh Fund, which is an emergency assistance fund that is focusing on those impacting by Hamas’ mass terror attack, which took place on the day of Dolgopyat’s victory. On October 7, Hamas terrorists stormed southern Israel, slaughtering more than 1,200 Israelis, mainly civilians, and taking captive more than 200 to the Gaza Strip.
Tech giants mobilize to fuel southern Israel's post-war reconstruction
High-tech companies, venture capital funds, and local municipalities in the Negev are launching an initiative to create hundreds of high-tech jobs in southern Israel, which has been severely affected by the recent war. Led by the social high-tech initiative Place-IL, the project will establish a high-tech office complex in Sderot, with an investment of 15 million shekels.

The new complex will house international companies such as Google, NVIDIA, Salesforce, Palo Alto, and Cisco, along with Israeli companies like cybersecurity firm Armis, the fintech company Melio, and the HR company Hibob.

Other companies expected to join the project include Imperva, Cadenus, and Axonius. The venture has also gained the partnerships of American venture capital fund Insight Partners, which has been particularly active in Israel in recent years.

The project’s goal, born after Hamas’ October 7 attack, aims to rejuvenate the Negev and bring the presence of high-tech companies to the region. While individual companies may not rush to open branches in the area, the creation of a shared workspace for several companies will establish a foothold in the region, simultaneously providing strength and security for residents returning to their homes.

The plan is expected to create around 400 new high-tech jobs in the Negev within three to four years. Additionally, plans are underway for the construction of another facility in Ashkelon and possibly in one of the communities close to the Gaza border, with plans to reach the employment of 800 new workers.

PodCast: David Hazony: Jewish Priorities - 65 Proposals for the Future of our People
In the aftermath of the Hamas Massacre, Laura speaks with award-winning editor, translator, and author David Hazony about his newest work, Jewish Priorities: Sixty-Five Proposals for the Future of Our People (Wicked Son, 2023), which brings together 65 diverse contemporary thought leaders from across the Jewish world.

Hazony discusses how he has personally been affected by October 7, what it’s like to have five kids in the IDF at the same time, why America Jewry needs to focus on good news more than bad news, how to get out of the rut of ‘fire extinguisher Judaism,’ the power of ‘no,’ and drawing inspiration from our youngest heroes.

DAVID HAZONY is an award-winning editor, translator, and author. His newest work, Jewish Priorities: Sixty-Five Proposals for the Future of Our People (Wicked Son, 2023), brings together a remarkable array of new essays from across the Jewish world.

He is the former editor-in-chief of the journal Azure and was the founding editor of His book The Ten Commandments (Scribner, 2010) was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His translation of Uri Bar-Joseph’s The Angel (Harper-Collins, 2016) was a winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

He has edited two previous anthologies: Essential Essays on Judaism by Eliezer Berkovits (Shalem, 2002), and, with Yoram Hazony and Michael B. Oren, New Essays on Zionism (Shalem, 2007). He has a Ph.D. in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University and lives in Jerusalem.

Howard Jacobson: A Jewish Christmas in Manchester
Even without the red suit and snowy beard, my father looked like Father Christmas. He was the right height, had the right girth, possessed a range of benign expressions and enjoyed the appreciation of children for whom he loved performing party tricks. Which meant he was busy, even in the Jewish neighborhood we lived in, attending parties and distributing gifts from about the beginning of Chanukah to whenever we estimated it was time to take the Xmas decorations down. Writing and, in some families, even pronouncing Christmas as Xmas stopped the whole shemozzle becoming too tref. And, though I talk of Xmas “decorations,” in reality they were rarely more than streamers made of crepe paper and a few spiral cardboard mobiles the youngest of us had made at school.

There was, of course no tree. For the Jews of North Manchester a tree was a step too far in the direction of Christology. Years later, when I was experimenting with “marrying out,” my father expressed horror that my wife had brought a Christmas tree into the house. “Just think of it as a big flower,” I said. He shook his head and looked away. “Why would a big flower have an angel sitting on it?” he asked.

“Jews have angels, too,” I reminded him. He didn’t know much Old Testament history but something about an angel with a fiery sword guarding the way back into the Garden of Eden had stayed with him since cheder. “Our angels don’t have sweet expressions,” he said.

Setting angels to one side, I further reminded him that when I was growing up he’d played Father Christmas for the whole street. “That was different,” he insisted. He never explained the difference to me. Not impossibly, he thought Jesus had been nailed to something resembling a Christmas tree, in which case to have had one in the house would have been either to commemorate the crucifixion or to invite being accused of it all over again.

Right or wrong about the tree, my father was surely correct in thinking Father Christmas had no necessary crucifixion associations, though I did once see a photograph of a giant crucified Santa on the roof of a Tokyo department store. Many are the delights of cultural confusion which the miserly charge of “appropriation” denies us. My full Jerusalem tour
My full Jerusalem tour

0:00 - Intro
0:45 - Jaffa Gate
3:04 - Tower of David
5:28 - Razzuk
8:20 - The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
21:10 - Bilal
25:30 - The Western Wall
39:50 - The Jewish Quarter
43:20 - The Armenian Quarter
45:55- The End

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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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