April 20, 2024
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Pope Statement Condemns Attacks on Jews, Israel

(JNS.org) The World Jewish Congress (WJC) applauded a statement by Pope Francis affirming that attacking Jews and attacking Israel are both anti-Semitism. Pope Francis made his comments in a speech to a WJC delegation in honor of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate.

Enacted in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, Nostra Aetate—the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions—renounced the Catholic Church’s history of anti-Semitism.

“To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism. There may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues, but the State of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity,” Pope Francis said Wednesday.

“Pope Francis does not simply make declarations. He inspires people with his warmth and his compassion. His clear and unequivocal support for the Jewish people is critical to us,” said WJC President Ronald Lauder on Thursday, praising the pontiff’s words.

“A relation with Judaism is intrinsic to the very nature of the Church. In God’s mysterious wisdom, this revolution could only succeed with the Church addressing relations with all other religions,” added Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs, the Catholic website Crux reported.

Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah Identifies Open Orthodoxy as ‘Dissident Movement’

(theyeshivaworld.com) The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America, or Council of Torah Sages, which serves as Agudath Israel of America’s highest rabbinic body, has examined statements and positions put forth by representatives of the “Open Orthodox” groups and found that the movement is beyond the pale of Orthodoxy. To help prevent the Jewish public from being misled on the matter, the council issued the following statement:

“‘OPEN ORTHODOXY’ and its leaders and affiliated entities (including, but not limited to, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshivat Maharat, and International Rabbinic Fellowship), have shown countless times that they reject the basic tenets of our faith, particularly the authority of the Torah and its Sages. Accordingly, they are no different than other dissident movements throughout our history that have rejected these basic tenets.

“We therefore inform the public that in our considered opinion, ‘Open Orthodoxy’ is not a form of Torah Judaism (Orthodoxy), and that any rabbinic ordination (which they call “semicha”) granted by any of its affiliated entities to their graduates does not confer upon them any rabbinic authority.

“May the Almighty have mercy on the remnants of His people and repair all breaches in the walls of the Torah, and may we be worthy to witness the raising of the glory of Hashem and His sacred Torah.”

Austrian MP Fired For Anti-Semitic Facebook Exchanges

(thejc.com) Austrian MP Susanne Winter has been fired by the far-right Freedom Party for agreeing with an anti-Semitic comment on her Facebook page. A Facebook user had written on the MP’s page: “Zionist money Jews are the global problem. Europe, and in particular Germany, are now getting what they deserve from Zionist Jews, particularly rich Zionist Jews in the USA, for the century-long persecution of Jews in Europe. According to the Zionists, Europe, particularly Germany, should be cut off as economic competitors to the US.”

Ms. Winter responded: “It is great. You are taking the words right out of my mouth. There are a lot of things I am not allowed to write. Therefore, I’m even more pleased about courageous, independent people.”

Freedom Party General Secretary Herbert Kickl said in a statement that Ms. Winter’s post was “absolutely unacceptable.” Ms. Winter was later dismissed from the party.

The MP apologized on Sunday, speaking to the Austrian edition of the newspaper Der Standard. She called the post “foolish” and said: “I am not anti-Semitic, I have Jewish friends.”

Oskar German, president of the Austrian Jewish Community, said she is “a disgrace to the Austrian Parliament.”

U.S. to Help Compensate French Rail’s Holocaust Deportees

(JNS.org) The U.S. State Department will accept applications for restitution from Holocaust victims (and their family members) who were transported to concentration camps by the French rail company Societ? Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais (SNCF), according to an announcement made last week by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

SNCF transported tens of thousands of Holocaust victims to concentration camps. Sen. Schumer sponsored the Holocaust Rail Justice Act, which makes SNCF liable for its actions in U.S. courts. The French government is now granting the U.S. government $60 million to be used to compensate claimants worldwide.

According to the State Department, the funds will be used to compensate those who survived deportation from France but are currently nationals of other countries, spouses of similar individuals, and estates representing such survivors and their spouses who have died since World War II. Each of these types of claimants, if approved, could receive more than $100,000.

“For decades, survivors and family members of those who perished have attempted to hold SNCF accountable for its active role during the Holocaust, however, it has continued to dodge responsibility for its collaboration with the Nazi regime. Next week, the State Department will begin accepting restitution applications from eligible survivors and their family members, which means that the French rail company will finally be held accountable for transporting thousands to their death during World War II,” said Sen. Schumer.

The agreement came into force Nov. 1 and applications are being accepted via a new online portal beginning Nov. 3.

Knesset Approves Minimum Jail Sentences for Rock-Throwing

(JNS.org) In a vote of 51-17, the Israeli Knesset on Monday approved a bill designed to toughen penalties for rock-throwing.

The bill, designed as a temporary provision in its current format, passed its second and third reading on Monday, finalizing it into law. Its temporary nature, however, will require Knesset members to vote on it again in three years in order to decide whether to renew it.

The new law, part of efforts to quell a recent wave of Palestinian violence, imposes a minimum prison sentence of three years on anyone convicted of rock-throwing, stabbing, or using other dangerous weapons, with the new law adding rocks to the existing list of dangerous weapons.

Under the law, the minimum prison sentence cannot be less than one-fifth of the maximum sentence. But the court is given leeway to use its discretion in cases involving “special circumstances.”

Israel Closes Palestinian Radio Station Over Anti-Israel Incitement

(JNS.org) Israeli authorities raided a Palestinian radio station in Hebron before dawn Tuesday on suspicion that the station systematically aired incitement to violence against Israelis. During the raid, conducted by the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration, troops confiscated broadcast and technical equipment, forcing the station off the air.

The Al-Huriya radio station is said to have encouraged violent “resistance” marches.

“The operation to confiscate equipment and close the station was a necessary step in the efforts to rein in the incitement whose results have been obvious over the last month,” said an IDF statement. “The IDF will continue to use every legal means at its disposal to combat terrorists and their accomplices in order to provide security to the citizens of Israel.”

Al-Huriya was established in Gaza in 2002 by Palestine Liberation Organization activists, and was relocated to Hebron after Hamas violently took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. The station has been shut down by Israeli authorities twice: once in 2002 and again in 2008.

Most recently, the station broadcast false claims that Israeli security forces were executing Palestinians and kidnapping Palestinian boys. The station also encouraged stabbing attacks against Israelis and honored the families of terrorists who died while committing attacks.

Al-Qaeda Leader Praises Palestinian Terror, Calls for Attacks Against U.S.

(JNS.org) Al-Qaeda terror leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has released a new audio message titled “To Unite for the Liberation of Jerusalem,” in which he criticized Israel’s “attacks against the al-Aqsa mosque” and called for more terrorist attacks against the Jewish state and the U.S.

“Muslims around the world have learned about the Jewish attacks on the blessed al-Aksa mosque,” he said in the video, praising ongoing Palestinian stabbing attacks against “the Jews.”

He also discussed a larger strategy toward “liberating Palestine.”

“First is striking the West and especially the U.S. on its own soil, and attacking their scattered interests in every place. The supporters of Israel must pay with their blood and economy. This will be their price for supporting Israel’s crimes against Muslims and Islam,” he said, the Jerusalem Post reported.

To achieve this goal, Zawahiri called for more large-scale, mass terror attacks such as the ones Al-Qaeda carried out on September 11, 2001, or the train bombings in London and Madrid. He also called for “the founding of an Islamic State in Egypt and the Levant, in order to mobilize the nation for the liberation of Palestine.”

Hillel Employee Killed on Crashed Russian Airbus A321 Plane

(JNS.org) After the Airbus A321 carrying Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board, one of the victims was revealed as an employee of Hillel International, the Jewish campus umbrella organization. Anna Tishinskaya, 27, was a former program director of St. Petersburg Hillel.

“On behalf of everyone at Hillel, I extend my condolences to Anna’s family and our colleagues at St. Petersburg Hillel,” said Hillel International President and CEO Eric Fingerhut. “Anna represented the best of what Hillel hopes to achieve—rising from an engaged student to a Hillel professional and then becoming a leader within her community. Her loss will be felt by our Hillel family and the entire Jewish people.”

“[Anna’s] creative energy was boundless—she was a talented artist, singer and photographer who strove to make the Jewish community an exciting place for herself and others,” said Yasha Moz, director of global relations in the Office of the President at Hillel International, who had worked with Tishinskaya.

On Sunday, Russian authorities dismissed claims by the Islamic State terror group that it brought down the airplane, which crashed in an area of the Sinai known for heavy activity by terrorist groups.

“The key task is to investigate in detail what caused the tragedy,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in a statement broadcast by Rossiya-24 state television.

Terror Victim Rabbi Eitam Henkin ‘Saved his Children’ in Struggle With Assailants

(JNS.org) Thousands of friends, neighbors and family members attended a traditional 30-day memorial ceremony for terror victims Eitam and Naama Henkin in Jerusalem on Sunday, where Eitam was remembered as a hero for saving the couple’s young children.

The Henkins were murdered in front of their four children—Itamar, 6 months; Neta, 4; Nitzan, 7; and Matan, 9—when Palestinian terrorists attacked them while they were driving on a Samaria road in early October. Their children now live with their maternal grandparents, Hanan and Hila Armoni, in the community of Peduel.

Hila Armoni spoke of the challenges in raising the four newly orphaned children and said, “They were saved by their courageous father’s heroic actions.”

Police investigations revealed that after the first round of gunfire stopped the car, the gunmen came up on both sides of the vehicle to ensure they had killed the family. Eitam Henkin got out of the car and began to fight one of the terrorists. The second gunman tried to shoot Eitam, but instead accidentally hit his partner, injuring his arm. The two terrorists then fled. The wounded terrorist’s gun was found at the scene, and finding it enabled police to catch the attackers.

Palestinians Celebrate Upon Receiving Bodies of Terrorists From Israel

(JNS.org) Israel’s political echelon was outraged when the dead bodies of five Palestinian terrorists were received in the Palestinian Authority (PA) with celebrations, in violation of the PA’s pledge not to do so.

During a meeting of the Israeli diplomatic-security cabinet about a month ago, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan opposed returning the bodies of terrorists, but Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon insisted on it, arguing that keeping them was tantamount to “body trafficking” and could prompt further violence.

Ultimately, the cabinet agreed on a split policy: In Judea and Samaria, which is under the jurisdiction of the defense minister, Ya’alon will decide the fate of the bodies. In eastern Jerusalem and within the Green Line, Erdan would be the deciding figure.

Appearing on Israel’s Channel 2, Ya’alon voiced disappointment that “the Palestinians did not live up to their word that there would be no celebrations.”



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