Sunday, June 09, 2024

From Ian:

Daniel Greenfield: Daring Israeli Rescue of 4 Hostages Discredits Appeasement
After months in which it was falsely claimed that the only way to rescue hostages was to cut a deal with Islamic terrorists, Israel launched a daring daylight rescue operation, simultaneously hitting two houses where four hostages were being held.

The operation brought together the Israeli Army, the Shin Bet, its version of the FBI, Yamam, and the border police, which penetrated deep into enemy territory in a risky rescue mission that required precise timing and holding off hordes of terrorists who swarmed to attack the rescuers.

Despite the odds, Israel pulled it off. And the media and the political establishment doubled down on the narrative.

The White House and international leaders repeated their demands for a “ceasefire” that would leave Hamas in power and ready to launch another Oct 7.

The media eagerly passed on the Hamas claims of “mass civilian casualties”.

Both were responding to the fact that the operation had once again shown that the only right and moral thing to do was to defeat the terrorists.

There is only way to stop the cycle of Islamic terrorism and that is to stop cutting deals with the terrorists.
‘At the level of Entebbe’
The operation’s sole Israeli casualty was Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, 36, a Yamam squad commander. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Noa Argamani (26) was held in one apartment, locked in a room, while Almog Meir Jan (21), Andrey Kozlov (27) and Shlomi Ziv (40) were held in second apartment, in a building 200 meters away, according to Hagari. All four had been kidnapped from the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on Oct. 7, and were constantly watched by armed Hamas guards.

“Families with guards who had weapons inside the buildings, inside the flats, together, holding the hostages,” said Hagari.

Hamas periodically moved the hostages from one location to another, some of which were above ground and some of which were below. The fact that four hostages were being held above ground relatively close together created a unique opportunity.

At 11:00 a.m., the special forces assault teams got the “go” from Halevi and set out, approaching the two buildings in Nuseirat—a heavily populated civilian area.

At 11:25 a.m., the forces entered both buildings at the same time, engaged the terrorists, and extracted the hostages, with air support.

Had the operation targeted only one of the buildings, the IDF assessed that the Hamas guards in the second building would have killed their hostages, believing a raid was imminent, Hagari explained. “That is the reason why we made this decision,” he said.

The operation had been canceled three times before finally being given the green light, said Hagari.

“We gather the intelligence in multiple ways in order to make sure that we are ready for [an] operation,” he added. As information comes in, commanders need to decide whether or not to wait for more, he explained.

“There are a lot of details, like in a puzzle,” he said. “We may never have all of the links, but we have to make sure that we have enough links to ensure there is leverage.”

The IDF built models of the apartments for special forces to rehearse the rescue, according to Hagari. “The scale of the rehearsals was as large as the [1976] Entebbe operation—[in terms of] the models we used, as well as the way in which we trained, and we had to make sure that everything was done simultaneously,” he said.

Extensive preparations notwithstanding, tensions in the ISA command room were extremely high as the operation got underway, Hagari recalled.

“In Noa Argamani’s building our forces surprised them completely; it was still hard. In the other building, we had crossfires with the guards during which the commander of the squad from the [Yamam] Unit was injured,” he said.

Zamora was evacuated to hospital in critical condition, where he later died of his wounds.

“A very brave warrior,” said Hagari.

At this point in the operation, the word was out and terrorists armed with RPGs were “running in the streets” of the heavily populated residential neighborhood, converging on the rescue force, he continued.

“The cynical way in which Hamas is using [the] civilian population [of Gaza] in order to fire at our forces, embedding themselves within civilians, is tragic,” he stated.

“There was so much fire drawn to our forces, which meant we needed to fire from the air as well as the streets,” he said. “It was done very very professionally and precisely,” he emphasized, adding that the IDF had a pre-planned target bank of terrorist forces in the area.

The successful rescue highlights the high-level integration of Israel’s various security and military organizations, with the IDF, ISA, Yamam and IAF demonstrating their combined capabilities in intelligence gathering, operational planning and execution.

Hagari noted that 120 hostages are still held by Hamas in Gaza, and reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to securing their release.

“We will do everything possible to return all the hostages home. This morning’s operation was not only a success but also an opportunity to fulfill the goals of this war,” he said.
Col. Richard Kemp: 'Incredibly impressive, difficult to rescue hostages from 2 places'
Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about the daring rescue operation in Nuseirat yesterday (Saturday) in which four hostages were rescued alive, eight months after they were kidnapped from the Nova music festival on October 7.

"This was an extremely significant event in this war," Col. Kemp told us. "The IDF has been fighting very hard, very effectively, and with immense success in Gaza. They have destroyed most of the Hamas terror army and are on the path of its final destruction as a fighting force that can threaten Israel. But all Israelis’ hearts are firmly with the hostages and this dramatic rescue operation of four of them is a much-needed shot in the arm for people who have endured so much for so long in what is becoming Israel’s longest-ever war."

He noted that such successful hostage rescues are rare during warfare. "Successful hostage rescue in a hostile environment is probably the most difficult of military operations. I have been involved in the rescue of British hostages in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is rare for them to succeed. There are two prerequisites that are both extremely hard to achieve. First, you must have pinpoint intelligence to tell you exactly where the hostages are being held and in what conditions, including who and how many are guarding them. Second, you must be able to achieve surprise, in other words, to launch the operation without prior detection. Bearing in mind it is likely that hostages will have a gun to their heads and any warning that a rescue is coming will likely see them killed immediately. Terrorists will also often be expecting a rescue and will prepare to kill the rescuers eg by booby traps, snipers, etc."

"In this case, hostages were rescued from two separate locations which is incredibly impressive given the necessity to coordinate them so precisely to avoid terrorists in one location being so that one assault does not trigger reaction from terrorists in the other," he said.

"I have the utmost admiration for those soldiers, police, and intelligence officers who carried out this operation. Each one of them knew well the lethal dangers they faced, which has been tragically shown by the death of Yamam Chief Inspector Arnon Zemorah.

When asked about the question a BBC presenter asked about the possibility of the IDF issuing a warning prior to launching the rescue operation in order to reduce Gazan casualties, Col. Kemp responded that "that sort of question can be dismissed as a sign of complete ignorance of the reality of war. To give a warning that you are about to launch a hostage rescue operation would be a guarantee of that operation’s failure."

Hostages held alongside families in adjacent buildings | new details and first footage
Saturday’s operation to rescue hostages from central Gaza’s Nuseirat was named "Summer Seeds" and is considered one of the most complex hostage rescue missions ever by the IDF.

The hostages were held in civilian areas, above ground, in buildings with three to four floors. The forces stormed two separate locations where the hostages were kept: Noa Argamani was held on the first floor of one building, while Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv and Almog Meir Jan were held on the third floor of another building, hundreds of yards apart, alongside Gazan families.

Hamas frequently moved the four hostages from one apartment to another. The concern was that if the forces only stormed one building, terrorists might escape with the hostages from the other. The Air Force gathered intelligence from the air in recent days, and the IDF and Shin Bet created conditions that allowed reaching the targets without the terrorists shooting the hostages first, which was key to the operation's success.

The models built by Israel Police’s Yamam counterterrorism unit reminded military officials of the models used for the Entebbe Operation, complete with buildings, streets, and small areas for training.

The 1976 counter-terrorist mission was launched in response to the hijacking of an international civilian passenger flight operated by Air France between Tel Aviv and Paris.

The key challenge emerged in the apartment where the three men were held. It was here that Yamam fighter Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, who "led the force" according to the IDF, was killed. The rescue unfolded under intense fire, and during the withdrawal, dozens of terrorists armed with anti-tank missiles and machine guns surged through the alleys toward the targets. As a result, uninvolved Gazan civilians were also killed in the densely populated area.

"The margin between success and failure in such an operation is razor-thin," the military said, emphasizing the reliance on exceptional technology from Military Intelligence and Shin Bet. "Without ground activity and maneuvering in Gazan territory, such operations could not succeed."

The IDF also noted that Chief Inspector Zamora's bravery enabled the successful rescue. "Shin Bet and Military Intelligence operatives entered the lion's den, dismantling houses in areas where no ground operations had occurred," they said. "This is courage on the level of Judah Maccabee. The operation was planned for many weeks with drills, rescue plans, and coordinated firepower, alongside various scenarios and responses."

The forces simultaneously breached both buildings using specialized weapons developed for the operation. Immediately after extracting the hostages, they began to retreat while engaging dozens of terrorists.

However, the vehicle carrying the three hostages became stuck and came under heavy fire, nearly complicating the mission. Forces from the 98th Division rushed to assist in the vehicle rescue, and evacuation helicopters entered deep into Gaza in broad daylight.
Telegraph Editorial: We must back Israel’s efforts to rescue hostages
Last October, Noa Argamani became the face of the Nova music festival when footage of her kidnapping - pleading for her life from the back of a motorcycle - was shared around the world. Today, the image of her reunion with her family following a successful rescue operation is a timely reminder of what Israel is fighting for, and the fundamental justice of its cause. She had been held captive for 245 days.

The ultimate success of her rescue alongside three other hostages is a stunning triumph for the Israel Defense Forces, and a stinging rebuke to the country's critics. Had calls for a unilateral end to Israeli military operations been heeded, it is frighteningly plausible that these four people would never have been freed.

Israel's dogged commitment to rescuing the hostages and destroying Hamas stand in marked contrast to the weakness of the West in supporting its efforts. All too often, the libels spread by Hamas have been allowed to pass effectively unchallenged, while Israel's military operations have been subjected to a level of scrutiny that is all but impossible to satisfy.
Clickbait 7 October Rape Ignorance In The Times ….
The Times Magazine on 8 June included this appalling piece (Why do you think Comments are Turned Off?). It is bigoted, glib, demeaning (of both the victims of 7 October and The Times itself), ignorant, confused and thoroughly shoddy. Shame on Times Editor Tony Gallagher for publishing this drivel. He may want to attract younger readers but dumbing down to clickbait about rape is a strategy that will implode in his face.

Philp (who has extensive Israel-bashing history) and Weiniger clearly set out to ‘prove’ these seven tropes about Israeli Jews:
1. That Jews label ‘antisemitic’ anyone who doubts atrocities against them (this is the well-known Livingstone Formulation – that Jews falsely use the allegation of ‘antisemitic’ to try to suppress criticism of Israel. No-one has ever evidenced this lie);
2. That supporters of Netanyahu have fabricated evidence about rape on 7 October in order to justify Israel’s action in Gaza (‘the politicisation of rape’);
3. That Jews were moved by the rapes committed during the pogroms and Shoah during the 19th and 20th Centuries to fabricate evidence about rape on 7 October;
4. That religious Jews are less educated and so are more likely to be mindful of historic rapes of Jewish women in fabricating evidence of rape on 7 October;
5. That supporters of Netanyahu view Arab men as likely to rape Jewish women;
6. That ZAKA volunteers are likely to make false allegations or rape because ‘they never saw a woman except their wife’.
7. That the Israeli government falsely accuses Hamas of using rape as a premeditated strategy on 7 October.

To evidence these tropes Philp and Weiniger interviewed three Israeli women who work on gender issues: Dr Sarai Aharoni of Ben Gurion University; Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari of Bar-Ilan University; and Orit Sulitzeanu of the Association of Rape Crises Centers.

Like social sciences academics everywhere, those in Israel tend to be of the Left. Moreover in Israel they tend to be secular. So it’s easy to get anti-Netanyahu and anti-religious quotes from them and then publish those quotes out of context. That is precisely what Philp and Weiniger have undoubtedly done in order to cast doubt on 7 October rape allegations.

I hope the three women will complain about being quoted out of context but maybe they won’t as The Times is not an Israeli newspaper.

The West Keeps Rewarding the Terrorist Group Hamas
Spain, Ireland and Norway recently formally recognized Palestinian statehood.... It is unprecedented in world history for a terrorist group to attack another country, murder its people and take hostages, only to then be rewarded with a recognition of statehood – cordially facilitating its future actions, including against countries in Europe.

We have already seen this April "thousands of protestors" in Germany demanding a Caliphate with sharia law.

The West's reward also sends a message that... the West will eagerly accept any antisocial behavior rather than stand up for the values of civilization that have defined it for centuries.

The aim of anti-Israel protestors seems to be that stability can only be achieved after everyone has conceded to the terrorists' demands. Sadly, many politicians, perhaps hoping for votes from wherever they can get them, might be only too happy to comply.

Perhaps Ireland, Norway and Spain would like to offer sanctuary to Gazans from Hamas?

[The] intended beneficiaries of ...[Israel's] enormous sacrifice, have instead been undermining and demonizing Israel every step of the way, especially its fearless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called by Andrew Roberts "The Churchill of the Middle East," who now finds himself, courtesy of the unlawful International Criminal Court, with an international warrant out for his arrest.

The only reason countries are recognizing a Palestinian is that they will not have to live next to it. As Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and former New York City Council president Andrew Stein recently pointed out:

"Consider the fact that no Arab or Muslim nation has been willing to accept Palestinian refugees from Gaza. Perhaps these nations recall that anyone who has tried to help the Palestinians has lived to regret it. When Jordan took them in, the Palestinians tried to overthrow the government of King Hussein in 1970. The attempted coup, known as Black September, ended with the Palestinians being expelled to Lebanon. Once there, a civil war erupted between the Muslims, backed by the PLO, and the Christians, resulting in the PLO being expelled once again, this time to Tunisia in 1982. After Kuwait offered roughly 400,000 Palestinians visas and jobs, and Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990,the PLO sided with Iraq. After the liberation of Kuwait, an estimated 200,000 were expelled and another 200,000 were not allowed back."

The more countries that will join Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas in its assault by recognizing a Palestinian state, the more power and influence they will have in Europe to double their demands. Wait until Iran has its nuclear bombs and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. They will not even have to use them, only threaten to, as Putin is now doing in Ukraine so that US President Joe Biden will prevent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from winning.

Such actions jeopardize stability not only in the Middle East but even more in Europe. Ireland, Norway and Spain seem to be under the illusion that if they pet the kitty, the kitty will like them. Unfortunately, that is not always the way kitties work. All that cuddling up to terrorists and their promotors really achieves is to weaken the West's credibility in defending its values, and the way of life we naïvely take for granted in the West.
‘BBC’ asks why Israel didn’t warn Gazans before rescue operation
BBC news anchor Helena Humphrey came in for ridicule after asking former IDF International Spokesman Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Conricus on Sunday whether Israel should have warned Gaza’s civilians before launching Saturday’s rescue operation.

Referring to the high Arab casualty count reported by Hamas sources, Humphrey asked, “Would there have been a warning to those civilians for them to get out on time?”

Conricus, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank, politely stated the obvious, “We cannot anticipate Israel to be warning ahead of a raid to extract or to save hostages because then what the terrorists would do is to kill the hostages and that would defeat the purpose.”

Asked what he was thinking when the BBC interviewer posed the question, Conricus told JNS, “I wondered whether she was reading off a teleprompter or actually thought of the question herself.

“But,” he added, “in the upside down universe of activist journalism, this question makes total sense.”

Humphrey’s question became the butt of jokes on social media.

ESCAPE FROM HAMAS: What Israel's Hostage Rescue Tells You About Gaza | Caroline Glick Show In-Focus
An incredible Israeli rescue operation brings four hostages home from Gaza and Hamas captivity.

But, reaching a new low, the media focuses on the civilian casualties quoting numbers from the Gaza Health Ministry and calls Israel's operation a war crime. But do the details of this operation point to something about the Gaza civilian population and the way the media operates?

Caroline Glick joins Scripps TV for updates on hostage rescue, Gantz's latest, and Israel-Hamas War
Caroline Glick, former Netanyahu senior foreign policy advisor, senior contributing editor of Jewish News Syndicate, (JNS) and host of the “Caroline Glick Show," joins Scripps News Weekend to discuss the hostage rescue, latest news on Benny Gantz and the Israel War Cabinet and the Israel-Hamas War. June 9, 2024

John Spencer PodCast | 12.10.21: The Mothers’ Bus Attack and the Yamam
On the morning of March 7, 1988, three members of the Palestine Liberation Organization hijacked a bus full of Israeli women traveling to work near the town of Dimona, Israel. The terrorist attack would become known as the “Mothers’ Bus attack.”

In this episode of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project Podcast, John Spencer is joined by Maj. Gen. Avshalom Peled. He currently serves as the head of the Israel Police Training Department. In 1988, he was a platoon commander in the Yamam, an Israeli counterterrorist organization that specializes in close-quarters battle, which was called on to conduct an operation to rescue the hostages on the bus.

In the conversation, Maj. Gen. Peled details the history of the Yamam, shares his experiences in the elite organization, and tells the story of the now famous hostage rescue during the Mothers’ Bus operation and his role in it. He also shares the importance of the event to the Yamam within Israel’s security forces and the many lessons they took from the operation.
Miracle survival Rescued hostage Noa Argamani recounts near-lynching in Gaza, being dressed in disguise as Palestinian: report
Rescued Israeli hostage Noa Argamani, who became the symbol of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on the Jewish state after her kidnapping went viral, said she thought she was going to die four times — and was dressed as a Palestinian woman as she was moved house-to-house around Gaza, according to a report.

Argamani, a Chinese-born Israeli citizen, said she thought she was going to be killed when Hamas stormed the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7, per Channel 13, where the terror group slaughtered more than 360 people.

While Argamani survived the initial assault — with her screams of terror uploaded on social media as she was put on the back of a motorcycle and hauled off to Gaza — the 26-year-old said she was certain that she would be publicly lynched by the crowd that awaited her, she told family members, according to Israel’s Channel 13.

Later, she said she nearly died, again, after Israeli missiles struck the compound she was being held in, she told family members.

“I saw the missile enter the house; I was sure I was going to die,” she reportedly said.

“I thought that was it, but I stayed alive,” Argamani added.

Argamani appeared to be referencing the Israeli strike that allegedly killed fellow hostages Yossi Sharabi and Itai Svirsky, which she was forced to announce in a cruel propaganda video released by the terror group in January that displayed their corpses.

The she also recounted how she believed she was going to die in the chaos of the operation that led to her rescue on Saturday.

Along with the near-death experiences Argamani recalled how she was forced to move between several apartments during her captivity, which also spared her the fate of being kept inside Hamas’ dark and winding tunnel network like other hostages.

On the rare opportunities she was allowed to go outside, she said she was forced to dress like a Palestinian woman.

Tributes pour in for ‘sweet and charming’ father-of-two IDF officer, 36, killed in hostage rescue
The wife of the IDF officer who was killed in the hostage rescue operation in Gaza Strip has paid tribute to “an amazing partner, a perfect father.”

Arnon Zmora of the elite Yamam counter-terrorism unit was critically injured as part of the operation to rescue the four hostage freed yesterday.

In a Facebook post his wife, Michal Zmora, said her husband was “a loving and loved man.

“Now, everything is filled with the image of the late hero Arnon Zmora.

“But long before he was a warrior and a hero he was a sweet and charming man.”

Zmora’s funeral is expected to take place today at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

Following his death the name of the hostage rescue mission was named in “Operation Arnon” in his memory.

The 36-year-old father-of-two played a leading role in the historic mission that freed four hostages in the central Gaza Strip.

U.S. Intelligence Helped Israel Rescue Four Hostages in Gaza
A team of American hostage recovery officials stationed in Israel assisted the Israeli military's successful effort to rescue four captives on Saturday by providing intelligence and other logistical support, according to American and Israeli officials.

The Pentagon and the CIA have been providing information collected from drone flights over Gaza, communications intercepts, and other sources about the potential location of hostages.

While Israel has its own intelligence, the U.S. and Britain have been able to provide intelligence from the air and cyberspace that Israel cannot collect on its own, an Israeli official said.

American officials said their intelligence support for Israel is focused on the location of hostages and information about Hamas's top leadership.

They believe the best way to persuade Israel to end the war is to get back its hostages and capture or kill top Hamas leaders.
Biden’s national security adviser declines to say whether US is comfortable with Israeli rescue operation
His comments come after the Israeli military on Saturday rescued four hostages in a special operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza, that Gazan authorities said killed 274 people and injured nearly 700 others.

CNN has no way of verifying casualty numbers reported by Palestinian officials in Gaza. Medical records in the war-torn enclave do not differentiate between civilians and militants killed. The IDF has disputed those numbers, saying it estimated the number of casualties from the operation was “under 100.”

“Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number, we don’t know, but innocent people were killed and that is heartbreaking. That is tragic,” Sullivan said Sunday.

“The president himself has said in recent days that the Palestinian people are going through sheer hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire, that holds hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas,” he added.

Pressed by Bash on whether the US was comfortable with how the mission was carried out, Sullivan called for a diplomatic solution “where there’s no need for military operations to get every last hostage out.”

“Unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens and, frankly, to recover American citizens. What we would much prefer to see is a ceasefire where the hostages come out peacefully,” he said.

The Biden administration has been pushing allies in the Middle East to make specific threats to Hamas as part of an urgent campaign to push the group toward accepting the latest Israeli ceasefire and hostage proposal that would pause the fighting in Gaza.

US officials have publicly called on the group to accept previous ceasefire proposals on the table as Israel and Hamas have engaged in months of back-and-forth negotiations, but there has never been an all-out pressure campaign marked by specific asks to individual countries as part of the Biden administration’s push.

While the US has not confirmed Hamas’ claims that other Israeli hostages held inside Gaza were killed during the mission, Sullivan said broadly that it is “always a risk,” going on to advocate for the ceasefire deal Biden has been lobbying for in recent days.

Hamas launches new psychological warfare attempt alleging Israel killed three hostages
The Hamas armed wing announced on Sunday that three Israeli hostages were killed, including a US citizen, during the Israel hostage freeing operation in Gaza on Saturday.

"In exchange for them [the four Israeli hostages], your own army killed three of your own captives in the same attack; one of them holds a US citizenship," the Hamas statement said.

The IDF operation that took place on Saturday rescued Israeli hostages Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir (21), Andrey Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40), all of whom were kidnapped by Hamas to the Gaza Strip from the Supernova festival on October 7. According to Palestinian reports, the death toll during the operation reached over 200 Palestinians.

Hamas creates psychological warfare video
A video was created by the terrorist organization with text stating that "your Israeli government killed a number of your captives in order to save the other captives."

The video footage then continued to show images of wounded Palestinian children and elaborated that the IDF committed a massacre "in the Nuesirat Camp yesterday to rescue four captives."

"Your captives will not be released unless our prisoners are freed. Time is running out," the video concluded.
Father of hostage Almog Meir Jan died hours before rescue: ‘He didn’t get to see his son return’
The father of rescued hostage Almog Meir Jan died hours before he could learn his son was coming home.

“My brother died of grief and didn’t get to see his son return. The night before Almog’s return, my brother’s heart stopped. He didn’t get to see his son return,” Dina Jan, Almog’s aunt, tells the Kan public broadcaster.

“We are very happy about Almog’s return, but the brain is unable to absorb that this is the end. We are broken,” she says, explaining that her brother lived alone in Kfar Saba.

“Yossi, my brother, Almog’s father, was glued to the television for the whole eight months, clinging to every piece of information,” she says.

“He loved Almog so much, cared for him so much, wanted to know what was happening to him and what he was going through. He could not bear it, every [potential hostage deal] that exploded in his face broke his heart,” she says.

“He lost 20 kilos, he couldn’t bear it in any way,” she says, “He closed himself off, didn’t want to see people. Everyone was worried about Yossi, but he wasn’t able to communicate with anyone.”

Israelis rejoice at ‘Hostage Square’ after four saved from Gaza
Thousands of Israelis converged on “Hostage Square” in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, many euphoric over the daring operation to rescue four captives from Gaza even while demanding a deal with Hamas to secure the freedom of the remaining 120 Israelis held by the terrorists.

During a complex daytime operation in the heart of a crowded residential neighborhood, Israeli forces recovered from Hamas captivity Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

“I was so excited that our army brought people back alive that I cried,” Jimmy Miller, a cousin of Shiri Bibas, told JNS at the rally on Saturday.

“I was excited to see Noa Argamani, whose mother is so sick, alive. Last week, I was with Almog Jan Meir’s mother, we spoke together on stage. It was really amazing to see that there are people who came back from there walking, breathing and looking functional,” he added.

Bibas was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre along with her husband and sons, Ariel, 4, and Kfir Bibas, 10 months old at the time. In November, Hamas announced the deaths of Shiri and the kids. In response, the IDF said only that it was “assessing the accuracy of the information.”

Shortly thereafter, Hamas released a propaganda video showing father Yarden, 34, who was also abducted on Oct. 7 and remains in Gaza.

“I would like for all of them to come back together in the same situation. I hope it will happen as soon as possible. We know not everybody is held above ground and some are in the tunnels. So much time in the tunnels, it’s not the same as being in a house,” Miller said.

“We can see that there are Gazans who keep our hostages inside their houses. We have to get into Rafah and try to find our people,” he added. Israelis rally at “Hostage Square” in Tel Aviv, June 8, 2024. Photo by Yair Palti.

Vered Yablonka, the mother of Hanan Yablonka, expressed great relief that the four captives were returned home.

“I am so happy that they came back alive, because my son and others did not,” she told JNS on Saturday night.

Last month, the IDF recovered the bodies of Hanan Yablonka,42, along with those of Orión Hernández Radoux, 30, and Michel Nisenbaum, 59, who were killed on Oct. 7 and then abducted by Hamas terrorists to Gaza.

Journalist, doctor held Israelis hostage in Gaza
A journalist and a doctor were among the family members holding Israeli hostages in their home in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Sunday night.

“Following checks by the IDF and the Shin Bet, it can be confirmed that [journalist] Abdullah al-Jamal was an operative of the Hamas terrorist organization, who kept the hostages Almog Meir, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv in his family home in Nuseirat,” the military said in a statement posted to X.

“Abdullah’s family home held hostages alongside family members. This is further proof that the Hamas terrorist organization uses the civilian population as a human shield,” the statement added.

Meir, Kozlov and Ziv, along with hostage Noa Argamani, were rescued by Israeli forces in a daring daylight raid on Saturday.

Al-Jamal was killed during the raid, according to EuroMed, a Geneva-based NGO led by Gaza-born Palestinian financial expert Ramy Abdu and Richard Falk, a harsh critic of the Jewish state and the former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.
Gaza journalist held 3 hostages in his home with his family before he was killed, Israeli military says
A Gaza journalist who wrote for Al Jazeera was holding three hostages in his home with his family before he was killed by Israeli commandos during a rescue operation on Saturday, according to the Israeli military.

Abdallah Aljamal, who also worked as a spokesman for the Hamas-run labor ministry, was killed when special forces soldiers stormed his home in central Gaza and rescued hostages Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andri Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, the Israeli military said.

Aljamal’s death was originally reported by Rami Abdu, the head of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, who claimed Israel Defense Forces soldiers raided the journalist’s home and killed him and several members of his family.

The IDF acknowledged that Aljamal was keeping the hostages inside his family home, but made no mention of what happened to his relatives.

“This is further proof that the Hamas terrorist organization uses the civilian population as a human shield,” the IDF said in a statement.

Aljamal had previously written a column for Al Jazeera in 2019. The Qatar-based outlet said Aljamal was never an employee.

Before his death, Aljamal was contributing to the Palestine Chronicle news outlet, where he wrote a plethora of stories covering the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza during Israel’s offensive.

Many of his recent stories focused on the ongoing IDF operation in Nuseirat, where his own home was located, and where Israeli intelligence had figured out he was holding three of the four hostages rescued on Saturday near a refugee camp.

The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit organization based in Washington State that works to provide daily news to Gaza.

The outlet claims that its team “consists of professional journalists and respected writers and authors who don’t speak on behalf of any political party or champion any specific political agenda.”

The organization confirmed on Sunday that Aljamal was a contributor reporting on the ground in Gaza, but made no mention that he was holding three hostages.

The outlet did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

UN officials say IDF used ‘perfidious’ tactics during hostage rescue
A pair of United Nations special rapporteurs on Saturday criticized the Israeli military’s rescue operation in the Gaza Strip earlier in the day, saying it had caused too many civilian casualties and that its tactics were illegitimate.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N. special rapporteur for Palestinian-controlled territories, tweeted that she was “relieved” four hostages had been “released.” However, she went on to state that the operation “should not have come at the expense of at least 200 Palestinians, including children, killed and over 400 injured by Israel and allegedly foreign soldiers, while perfidiously hiding in an aid truck.”

The figures cited by Albanese, who has a long-documented history of anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, including outright support for Hamas, come from the terrorist organization, which runs the Gaza Health Ministry.

According to Israeli officials, the extraction force came under heavy fire during the operation, leading to a firefight in the heavily populated Nuseirat neighborhood. Hamas forces fired rocket-propelled grenades at the extraction teams and hostages from within civilian buildings, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The IDF has also disputed the claim that an aid truck was used during the operation, claiming that a civilian vehicle was used to transport soldiers into the camp.

Albanese went on to assert that “Israel could have freed all hostages, alive and intact, eight months ago when the first ceasefire and hostage exchange was put on the table. Yet, Israel refused in order to continue to destroy Gaza and the Palestinians as a people,” calling it “genocidal intent turned into action.”

The United States, which was deeply involved in the negotiations which led to the temporary ceasefire in November, confirmed that Hamas violated its terms.

U.S. President Joe Biden has also rejected accusations of genocide leveled at Israel over its campaign against Hamas.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, tweeted on Saturday that “Countries that celebrate the release of four Israeli hostages without saying a word about the hundreds of Palestinians killed and thousands held in arbitrary detention by Israel, have lost moral credibility for generations and don’t deserve to be on any U.N. human rights body.”

JVP: Hostage rescue displays Israeli ‘genocide’ in Gaza
Jewish Voice for Peace on Saturday described Israel’s hostage-rescue operation earlier in the day as part of an ongoing “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

“The acceleration of the Israeli military’s genocide of Palestinians was on full display today, as Israeli soldiers and drones massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza, supported and enabled by the U.S. government,” tweeted the anti-Israel NGO.

During a complex operation in a crowded residential neighborhood in central Gaza, Israeli forces recovered from Hamas captivity Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.

The hostages were all abducted by Hamas from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im during the Oct. 7 massacre.

Last month, JVP was widely criticized on social media for claiming that Israel scheduled its Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day to eclipse the “nakba.” (The word refers to the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding.)

Biased Coverage of Gaza Hostage Rescue Serves Hamas
Media outlets went out of their way on Saturday (June 8) to make Israel’s heroic rescue of four Gaza hostages look tainted or even immoral, with a reframing that served Hamas’ strategy.

Instead of simply reporting the news — that Israeli hostages Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv had been rescued in a rare and complex operation in the heart of Gaza — media outlets chose to label it as one of the “bloodiest” raids of the war.

They used three tactics to achieve that goal, which effectively turned justice into injustice:
Minimizing the achievement by using the term “freed” instead of “rescued” to describe the hostages
Emphasizing the Palestinian death toll based on Hamas figures
Whitewashing the terrorists’ use of civilians as human shields

The Washington Post, for example, committed two of these journalistic crimes:

Its headline led with the number of Palestinian casualties (without questioning how many of them were terrorists), its sub-header called the operation “brazen” and the lead paragraph labeled the operation “one of the bloodiest raids of the war.”

The fact that the hostages were rescued alive is mentioned only in the second paragraph. And the word “Blitz” is casually thrown into the fifth paragraph, evoking comparisons to Nazi warfare.

But what’s hidden in plain sight is the complete whitewashing of Hamas’ strategy of using civilians as human shields. The article simply mentions that the hostages had been held in “buildings,” omitting the fact that they were kept in families’ homes in the crowded multi-story structures, amid the civilian population.

NPR‘s coverage has similar faults: The Palestinian death toll is used to frame the hostage rescue with descriptions like “the streets were…covered in blood,” and the sites of the hostage captivity are called “locations in Nuseirat in central Gaza” — which could mean anything from tunnels to military compounds.

Did the Washington Post or NPR journalists independently verify whether the blood in the streets belonged to terrorists or innocent civilians? Or is blood used here — as in ancient times — to demonize Jews?

Either way, their coverage whitewashes the terrorists.

Douglas Murray: "The rise of anti-Semitism is a sign of a society in decline"
The increasing antisemitism in the Western world is a problem that urgently needs to be addressed. JA21 is doing just that. That’s why we organized a symposium on Saturday, June 1st, with Douglas Murray, Esther Voet, David Suurland, Machteld Allan, Hans Wallage, and Boaz Cahn. Here is the full speech by Douglas Murray.

Netanyahu to address US Congress on July 24
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on July 24, congressional leaders announced on Thursday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) extended the invitation late last month, and now the date has been set.

In a statement published by McConnell’s office on Thursday, the four men said the invitation “symbolizes the U.S. and Israel’s enduring relationship and will offer Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy, combatting terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region.”

Party leaders had sought to set the speech for June 13 but changed the date after learning that it was the second day of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in the Diaspora.

The speech will mark the fourth time the Israeli premier has addressed the U.S. governing bodies, the most of any foreign leader.

Netanyahu’s last address, on March 3, 2015, sparked political controversy because the Republican House and Senate leaders issued the invitation without notifying Democratic leaders or the Obama administration.

The White House declined to say on Sunday whether President Joe Biden would meet Netanyahu during his visit to Washington.
Danon to return to New York as Israel’s UN ambassador
Likud Party lawmaker Danny Danon is slated to return to New York this summer as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, four years after leaving the diplomatic post to involve himself in domestic politics.

Danon will replace Gilad Erdan, who took over in 2020 but has decided to wrap up his term and move his family back to the Jewish state as two of his children are about to be drafted into the Israel Defense Forces.

The appointment of Danon has been authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Israel Katz but is still subject to approval by government ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“MK Danon has a lot of experience in the international arena and there is no doubt that he will express his skills and experience during this time,” stated the PMO.

In a post on X, Danon alluded to the news, noting that he has “fought to defend Israel’s global position in a variety of ways” since Hamas launched its genocidal attack against the Jewish state on Oct. 7.

“At a time when the State of Israel is fighting on many fronts, each of us must do the best within our skills and experience. This is how I acted in the past, and this is how I will continue to act in the future,” he tweeted.

“In the face of the diplomatic terror that rears its head these days, I am compelled to present the truth with my head held high for the sake of the people of Israel and our shared future here,” added Danon.
IDF’s Gaza Division head announces his resignation: ‘I failed in my life’s mission’
The commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, announces that he is resigning from the military over his involvement in the failures that led to Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

In a letter to the head of the Southern Command and IDF chief of staff, Rosenfeld writes that “on October 7, I failed in my life’s mission to protect the [Gaza border communities].”

“I have decided to end my position as commander of the 143rd Division (the Gaza Division) and my service in the IDF, as part of my responsibility as a commander. Everyone has to take responsibility for their part and I am the one in charge of the 143rd Division,” he writes.

“As I promised, I will stay until my replacement takes over the role, and I will transfer command over the division in an orderly and responsible manner,” Rosenfeld continues.

“I intend to continue to take part in the investigations and the learning of lessons, to do everything so that what happened on October 7 does not happen in the future,” he says.

Rosenfeld is only the second senior officer in the IDF to resign over the October 7 attack, after the chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate announced he was quitting in April.
Gantz announces departure from wartime unity gov’t
War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday night announced his National Unity Party’s departure from the government set up in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and the ensuing Gaza war.

Speaking at a press conference in Ramat Gan, Gantz said, “It was an easy decision to enter the government, but the decision to leave was very difficult.”

“Unfortunately, Netanyahu is stopping us from reaching a true victory,” continued Gantz. “Therefore, we are now leaving, today, the unity government. With a heavy heart, but wholeheartedly.”

Gantz also demanded that Netanyahu do “everything he can” to advance U.S. President Joe Biden’s outline for a hostages-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas. National Unity will back “any responsible roadmap” from the opposition, vowed Gantz.

Gantz called on the remaining members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to “listen to their conscience,” singling out Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who has frequently clashed with the premier in recent months.

“This war has led me to appreciate you even more,” Gantz said of Gallant.

“To ensure true victory, we must go to elections after which a government will be formed which will be trusted by its citizens,” said the National Unity Party leader.

Gantz also demanded that Netanyahu do “everything he can” to advance U.S. President Joe Biden’s outline for a hostages-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas. National Unity will back “any responsible roadmap” from the opposition, vowed Gantz.

During the press conference, Netanyahu issued a statement urging Gantz to reconsider his decision, saying that “this is not the time to abandon the campaign [against Hamas]—this is the time to join forces.”

“We will continue until victory and the achievement of all the war goals, primarily the release of all our hostages and the elimination of Hamas,” continued the premier.

“My door will remain open to any Zionist party willing to shoulder the burden and help attain victory over our enemies and ensure the safety of our citizens,” he concluded.
'This is exactly what Sinwar, Nasrallah, and Iran were aiming for': MKs react to Gantz's gov. exit
Following Minister-without-portfolio and former member of Israel's war cabinet Benny Gantz's announcement that he exited the government on Sunday, several political leaders and MKs responded to his decision.

Opposition leader and chairman of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, reacted to Gantz's decision in a statement to X, stating, "Gantz and Eisenkot's decision to leave the failed government is important and just. The time has come to replace this extreme government with a sane government that will lead to the return of security to the citizens of Israel, to the return of the hostages, to the restoration of Israel's economy and international status."

Chairman of Religious Zionism and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich stated, "Benny, when you got under the stretcher eight months ago, you did a brave and right thing, and for that, you deserve to be appreciated."

"Today, your step is aimed at dismantling this cohesion for political reasons and is irresponsible."

"There is no less stately act than resigning from a government during a war. This is exactly what Sinwar, Nasrallah, and Iran were aiming for, and unfortunately, you are fulfilling their request," Smotrich wrote.
American diplomat meets PA governor who calls US ‘puppet’ of ‘Jewish lobby’
George Noll, the head of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem, last week sat down with a Palestinian Authority official in Hebron who has promoted antisemitic tropes about Jewish control of U.S. foreign policy, JNS has found.

USOPA, whose offices are located at the U.S. embassy to Israel but which is a separate institution, said on Monday that Noll was “pleased” to meet P.A. governor of Hebron Khaled Doudin on May 29.

The tête-à-tête in Judea, which was also attended by “other Hebron and Dura representatives,” focused on “challenges Hebronites are facing, including increased movement restrictions and extremist settler attacks over the past eight months,” the office tweeted.

The meeting marked Noll’s first visit to Arab Hebron since Doudin was appointed some three months ago as part of P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s promise to Washington to enact administrative reforms.

However, a glance at some of Doudin’s recent remarks on the war between Israel and Hamas suggests that antisemitism and the glorification of terror are still rampant among Ramallah’s officials.

Only four days before meeting Noll, Doudin told Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm that he believes the Biden administration will never withdraw its support for the Jewish state because “any American president relies on the Jewish-Zionist lobby and is a puppet of Israeli politics.”

Doudin said he could not support Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people, primarily Jewish civilians, because the “resistance operation” resulted in the deaths of “tens of thousands of martyrs” in Gaza.

“The Israeli occupation government took what happened in the ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ operation [Hamas’s name for the massacre] as justification for the annihilation of the people of the Gaza Strip and the settling of scores by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” said the governor.

“The one who initiated the killing is the occupation,” he charged, adding that Hamas’s murder spree should be viewed against the background of Jerusalem’s 20-year “siege” of the Palestinian coastal enclave.
British Bank Accused of Helping to Fund Terrorists
Documents filed in a New York court on May 31 claim that thousands of transactions worth more than $100 billion were carried out by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), one of the UK's largest banks, from 2008 to 2013 in breach of sanctions against Iran.

An independent expert has identified $9.6 billion of foreign exchange transactions with individuals and companies designated by the U.S. government as funding "terror groups," including Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

David Scantling, an expert with decades of experience with counter-terrorist financing, including at the U.S. Department of Defense, stated that the spreadsheets containing records of more than half a million separate transactions were "cloaked" and were not immediately visible, but could be extracted through a simple technique well-known to analysts in his field.

For example, SCB facilitated 73 transactions for a Gambian front company owned by a key Hizbullah financier, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi.
Masks off: DC protesters openly support Hamas, Hezbollah
Hundreds of keffiyeh-clad protesters expressed support for terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah at a demonstration near the White House on Saturday.

“Kill another soldier now,” “Kill another Zionist now,” and “Hezbollah, Hezbollah,” were just some of the bloodthirsty chants heard at the Washington, D.C. rally.

The theme of the protest was “From D.C. to Palestine, we are the red line: Stop the Genocide,” referring to Biden’s statement in March that Israel going into Rafah would be a “red line.”

Arguing that Biden has failed to enforce that red line, one of the organizers, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) posted on its website:

“Biden can’t draw the line, but we can. On June 8, we will come together from across the country and surround the White House. Wearing red, and raising our demands high, we will show the world that we are the red line. We demand an immediate ceasefire, an immediate end to the siege on Gaza, the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners, and an end to the occupation of Palestine,” the statement read.

One protester, in a Hamas headband, carried a bloodied face mask representing U.S. President Joe Biden. A masked protester behind him burned an American flag.

Other organizers of the protest included Shut It Down For Palestine, a coalition of groups, among them ANSWER and The People’s Forum, all three of which have been linked to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) supporter Roy Singham, a U.S. millionaire who has been singled out as a key figure funding anti-Israel protests.

Other protest “endorsers” listed on ANSWER’s website included CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, and Al-Awda.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood group, posted separately on its website encouraging U.S. Muslims to join the protests.

Protesters carried signs calling for “Intifada,” an end to “all U.S. aid for Israel,” and to “Free all Palestinian prisoners” (most Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are held for violent crimes).

Hamas 'Green Prince' shocked by college campus anti-Israel protests: 'They don't understand'
The son of a Hamas co-founder expressed shock and dismay at college protesters he sees as "misguided" and "misinformed" about the issues.

"They found an angry cause, and this is very dangerous to advocate on behalf of something they don’t understand," Mosab Hassan Yousef, known as "the Green Prince," told Fox News Digital in an interview. "They are not helping the situation. They are just making it worse."

Yousef, who was in Manhattan to address The Jerusalem Post New York Conference, is the eldest son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef. The son defected to Israel in 1997 and worked as an undercover agent for a decade before moving to the United States. He previously told Fox News host Sean Hannity Hamas would "not hesitate" to kill him if they found him.

He has called the terrorist group a religious movement "waging a holy war" under the guise of a political party. He has not shied away from criticizing the group in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack after seeing how some in the U.S. have responded with protests on college campuses and pressure in Congress to end the action in Gaza before Hamas has been eliminated.

"Bending to terrorists will have consequences," Yousef said. "We are sending the wrong messages. These people don't receive our statements or our action as a form of tolerance that we are trying to reach peace.They perceive it as weakness.

"The more we continue sending the wrong messages, the more we complicate the situation," he added. "We have to stand firmly regardless. … Hamas is a designated terrorist group in the United States, according to the American law, so it's a ridiculous thing of any lawmaker not to be able to distinguish this group.

"It’s very dangerous what they are doing," he insisted. "This is not a political issue. It’s a fundamental issue."

After Oct. 7, some argued the group’s vicious attack amounted to a "justified" defense after the treatment of the Palestinian people. Some labeled the Gaza Strip the world’s "biggest open-air prison," and others said the Palestinians — through Hamas — had no choice but to act.

Yousef rejected such claims, noting that Israel left the Gaza Strip almost 20 years ago and that Hamas governed in that time "with an iron fist" while multiple governments worked to weaken it.

"Gaza was under the blockade, not only by Israel but also by Egypt and other international forces because Hamas did not agree to drop their guns and recognize Israel’s right to exist," Yousef explained. "That was the only reason for the blockade. It was a security blockade. It had nothing to do with the race or with nationalism.
Antisemitic hate thrives at NYC’s most prestigious public high schools Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant, and Bronx Science
Antisemitism in the school has only gotten worse since Hamas’ vicious attack on Israel on Oct. 7, according to Shayna and other Brooklyn Tech students.

One freshman said a teacher told him “Shut up, you Zionist” during a classroom conversation about the Israel-Hamas conflict, during which the 15-year-old was refuting a classmate’s claim that “Israel kills babies.”

“I was taken aback and I just shut up,” he said of the January incident, which “scared” him so much that he stopped letting his Star of David necklace show.

When a group of Jewish students including Shayna and the freshman confronted Brooklyn Tech principal David Newman about the rampant hate, Newman arranged for them to share their experiences during a faculty-wide meeting.

But the principal forbid the students from using the words “Israel” or “Zionism” at the May 6 meeting – lest they trigger certain teachers, according to five students who were involved.

“Ignorance about Jewish identity, Zionism and Israel is no excuse for antisemitism directed at students and inaction among the adults in the room. The necessary response is increased education,” Daniel Brooks, the lead educator of Club Z’s New York chapter, said in response to the situation at Brooklyn Tech.

This week, a two-page letter by pro-Palestine students posted on the walls of Bronx Science pressured the school community to join them in spewing anti-Israel rhetoric.

“With disregard to the genocide occurring and the lack of attention to the suffering of millions in Palestine, the school has decided to support Israel,” the letter laments.

Another flier circulated by students called for Taglit Birthright Israel’s headquarters on Third Avenue to be “shut down” during a June 15 rally. The organization provides free trips to young people with the aim of fostering Jewish connection and giving immersive Israel experiences.

The hateful students wrote in a post on Instagram that the organization instead “aims to deepen Israeli settler colonialism.”

A spokesman for the DOE said the incidents are “disturbing” and being looked into.

“Students and staff deserve to be safe and respected in their school and we encourage students, staff, and families to report incidents expeditiously so that they can be quickly investigated, and action taken,” he added.
Australians love hearing about writers’ roots – unless they’re Israeli
Several years ago, I was having lunch with colleagues from the writing and publishing universe. We were talking religion when one of them said, laughing, ‘My kids believe in all Gods! And I tell them, I don’t care what you believe in. Allah, Jesus, Buddha…’ He named more divinities, yet someone conspicuous was missing. I had to ask: ‘And what about the Jewish god, isn’t he invited to the party?’

Silence spread around our table until the liberal father gathered his wits and told me he doesn’t like what religious West Bank settlers do to Palestinians. I don’t like it either. I also don’t like Catholics sexually abusing children nor ISIS burning people alive nor other atrocities perpetrated by various godly representatives on earth. Nobody comes out clean if you look into it; yet the only god excluded from that family’s festivities was mine.

Which was kind of reflective of how I’ve come to feel amidst the increasing celebrations of diversity in Australia, particularly within my tribe – the literati. The tribe in whose gatherings I’m often the only Jew and always the sole Israeli. To my knowledge, I am the only Israeli-Australian author with some sort of a public profile.

For years I’d thought Australia, where I moved to 25 years ago, was my salvation. Not only a political haven, but a Mount Helicon teeming with muses. My first three books were in Hebrew and published in Israel, but in English I developed a stronger writer’s voice. Here I was also exotic enough to stand out. My accented public readings were exotic.

My stories were exotic. Some of them were about another part of my twice hyphenated identity – my childhood in the Soviet Union. I felt ambivalent about those works, thinking how risk-free and irrelevant it was to write about Russian antisemitism in Australia where such vile behaviour would not have been tolerated… I miss that naiveté!

Cracks began to appear way before that fated lunch brought to light dark, slimy things I’d been suppressing. Like at a literary event where I remarked to another writer that her Egyptian name reminded me of the Hebrew word for “lake”. Her pleasant demeanour changed and she said she wanted nothing to do with Israel. That incident disturbed me more than it possibly should have, as in Israel I often holidayed in the Sinai Peninsula, sharing joints with Egyptian tourists.

It took many more similar incidents, what we now call micro-aggressions, for my barometer to become attuned to antisemitic undercurrents humming in my tribe’s depths. Like when I met an internationally renowned author, who immediately informed me, unprompted, that he wouldn’t travel to Israel until the occupation ends. Later in conversation it came to light that his political principles didn’t stop him, in a variation of the uninvited Jewish God, visiting countries with questionable regimes, including Russia.

And that was the thing about which I was particularly wrong. Apparently, my salvation was not Australia. It was Russia. My Russian origins.

On trial at 95: Ursula Haverbeck charged for Holocaust denial in Germany
Ursula Haverbeck, notoriously known for her denial of the Holocaust and continuous charges against her, has been put to trial again at the age of 95 in Hamburg, Germany, for inciting hatred, according to a DW report on Friday.

Haverback has returned to court after previously being sentenced to ten months in prison without parole in 2015. Following the charge, she filed for an appeal and avoided arrest.

Haverbeck has been convicted and sentenced to prison on several occasions since 2015 for incidents such as writing articles denying the Holocaust. She has not spent any time in jail due to her repeated appeals.

She was given the name "Nazi grandma" by the public due to her stance.

Avoiding prison time
In 2018, Haverbeck was charged with two years in prison and did not show up for her prison sentence.

Haverback's statements also mentioned that the Auschwitz concentration camp was not an extermination camp but rather a labor camp. Holocaust denial is considered to be a crime in Germany.

In November 2016, Haverbeck was convicted by a court in Verden based on numerous articles she had published in the local newspaper Stimme des Reiches, or “Voice of the Reich,” in which she denied that the Holocaust occurred.

The previous month, a court in Bad Oeynhausen sentenced Haverbeck to 11 months in jail for incitement to hate. In September 2016, the court in Detmold sentenced her to 8 months in prison.
‘Nazis are not welcome here in South Dakota,’ says governor Kristi Noem
Some 15 people, clad in red shirts, black masks and black pants unfurled a Nazi flag on the steps of the South Dakota capitol building in Pierre on Saturday, the Argus Leader reported.

Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, noted that the Nazis sought to rally at the capitol without a permit shortly after “we just celebrated the 80th commemoration of D-Day, when the take-back of Europe from Freedom-hating Nazis began.”

The Nazi ralliers “were escorted away by Highway Patrol officers,” the Republican governor said. “Nazis are not welcome here in South Dakota.”

“We stand on the shoulders of generations of Americans who have fought for the freedom of all—here and abroad,” she added. “We stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We reject all hatred and Nazis. Full stop.”

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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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