May 19, 2024
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Holocaust Survivor ‘Pays It Forward’

(combined sources) In 1938, then-child George Weidenfeld managed to escape the horrors of the Holocaust and emigrate to the United Kingdom, thanks to Quakers, a Christian group called Plymouth Brethren and other Christian groups.

Today, Weidenfeld, a Jewish English Baron and Lord in the House of Peers, is financing the escape of thousands of Christians from the tyranny of ISIS in Syria. He recently financed the resettlement of 42 Syrian-Christian families into Warsaw, Poland, in a secret operation due to the possible danger to family members remaining in Syria. Two hundred more are expected to follow in the coming months.

Through a project aptly named the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, these refugees are flown to a country, like Poland, that will provide them short-term asylum. Their stay is then financed for 12-18 months.The group also assists them in planning for their future.

Weidenfeld, co-founder of the publishing firm Weidenfeld & Nicolson, believes he is truly “paying it forward.” He was aided by a Christian group when he needed it most, and he is now able and supremely willing to assist Christians in conflict-torn Middle Eastern countries like Syria.

The Jewish National Fund, as well as the Warsaw-based charity Esther Foundation, will also be providing financial and other assistance to the refugees.

Israel Has Active Presence in Syria, Netanyahu Confirms

( Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday confirmed that Israel has had an active military presence in Syria. “We operate in Syria from time to time in order to prevent a front there [from being] created against us and to prevent transfers of weapons, especially from Syria to Lebanon,” the latter country being home to the Hezbollah terrorist group, Netanyahu said at the 8th annual Galilee Conference in Acre.

Recent reports have attributed airstrikes in Syria to the Israeli Air Force, but the Israeli defense establishment has declined to comment on those strikes. According to the reports, Israeli fighter jets have attacked Hezbollah targets in Syria several times over the past year, including two separate operations over the last two weeks. Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, has been fighting to preserve the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the ongoing civil war in Syria. Israel has occasionally been struck by spillover fire from the Syrian conflict.

The Israeli Air Force reportedly struck a weapons convoy and munitions storage facilities in the Qalamoun region near Syria’s border with Lebanon on Saturday night, Lebanon’s Almustaqbal television station reported Sunday.

According to the report, the targeted storage facilities housed long-range surface-to-surface missiles that Syria had transferred to the Hezbollah terrorist group. A number of Hezbollah fighters and Syrian military soldiers were reportedly killed in Saturday’s strike, and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were reportedly among the wounded.

The same report said it was the third Israeli strike in the Qalamoun region over a period of one week.

New Details Reveal PLO Terrorists Brutalized Israelis at Munich Games

( Relatives of the 11 Israeli team members who were murdered by Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany, have revealed new details of the grizzly attack—including how the Israelis were brutalized, and in one case, mutilated, by the terrorists.

In 1972, six Israeli coaches and five athletes were taken hostage and then murdered by the PLO terror group Black September after a pre-dawn attack on their apartment in the Olympic Village.

The family members of the victims only learned the details of how they were treated nearly 20 years after the massacre, when German authorities released reports of the attack that the authorities previously denied existed, the New York Times reported.

“The terrorists always claimed that they didn’t come to murder anyone—they only wanted to free their friends from prison in Israel,” said Ankie Spitzer, widow of Andre Spitzer, one of the murdered Israeli coaches. “They said it was only because of the botched-up rescue operation at the airport that they killed the rest of the hostages, but it’s not true. They came to hurt people. They came to kill.”

After decades of failed attempts, the families of the slain Israeli athletes recently finally gained recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). There will be a moment of remembrance for the athletes at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the IOC will also fund a permanent memorial to the athletes in Munich.

Highest-Ranking Soviet Spy Caught in Israel Dies at Age 97

( Marcus Klingberg, the highest-ranking Soviet spy caught in Israel, died at his home in Paris on Monday. He was 97.

Klingberg, a biologist, was arrested by Israel’s Shin Bet in January 1983 and subsequently convicted of spying on Israel for the KGB over the previous three decades. He was born in Poland in 1918 and fled to the Soviet Union after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. In the Soviet Union, Klingberg studied medicine and served in the Red Army as a medical officer.

In 1948, Klingberg immigrated to Israel with his wife and daughter and was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps, eventually reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1957, he was appointed deputy head of the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Ziona.

Klingberg was secretly arrested by the Shin Bet in 1983 after a lengthy investigation into his activities. Upon interrogation, he admitted to being a spy and was sentenced to 20 years in jail. In 1998, Klingberg was released to house arrest. After his 20-year sentence ended in 2003, he left Israel to go live with his daughter and grandson in Paris. Publicly, he never showed any remorse for his actions.

“To this day I don’t consider myself a spy,” Klingberg once said. “I am not proud of what I did, but I do not regret it either.”

Thousands in Jerusalem Commemorate Jews Expelled From Arab Countries

( Thousands of people attended Israel’s first official commemoration event for Jews expelled from Arab countries and Iran, held in Jerusalem on Monday.

Social Equity Minister Gila Gamliel spearheaded the initiative, calling the event “Longing for Home.” The ceremony began with a moment of silence for Jews killed in pogroms in Arab countries and Iran. Afterward, emigrants from those countries told their stories and performers took the stage—including singer Kobi Oz (of Tunisian heritage), actress and singer Liraz Charhi (of Iranian descent), musician Gilad Segev (of Syrian descent), musician Haim Oliel (of Moroccan heritage), musician Yair Dalal (of Iraqi descent), singer Dikla (of Egyptian heritage), singer Rita Shalhoun (of Lebanese descent) and actor-singer Guy Zu-Aretz (whose family is from Libya).

Gamliel said the ceremony corrected the lack of acknowledgment of the suffering of more than 800,000 Jews who were forced to flee or were expelled from Middle Eastern and North African countries in the 20th century.

“We will work to introduce Jewish heritage from Arab countries and Iran to the Israeli education system,” she said.

Netanyahu: Israel and Russia to Increase Military Coordination

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel and Russia will deepen military coordination amid Russia’s ongoing operations in Syria.

“I just had an important talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We agreed to deepen the coordination between us in order to prevent mishaps and to do so on a broad basis,” Netanyahu told reporters after his meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference on Monday.

“I think that every citizen of Israel understands today, in light of recent events on the Turkish border, the great importance of my trip to Moscow and these ongoing contacts with the Russian president,” he added.

Netanyahu’s announcement comes on the heels of a statement by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon praising security coordination with Russia that has prevented Russia-Israel clashes in the region. According to Ya’alon, a Russian jet recently breached airspace, but the issue was “immediately fixed through communications channels.”

In late September, Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow to establish a mechanism in order prevent any inadvertent clashes between Israeli and Russian forces operating in Syria.

BDS ‘Inspectors’ Try to Enforce Labeling of Israeli Products in Germany

( A group of self-appointed “inspectors” for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement visited various German businesses on Saturday in a bid to ensure that the businesses are complying with the European Union’s new guidelines removing “Made in Israel” labels for Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem, the German newspaper TAZ reported.

The activists, dressed in white overalls, visited downtown shops such as fruit stands and department stores in the German city of Bremen to enforce the rule. One spokesperson for the BDS group, Claus Walischewski, said the inspectors would guess which products were actually imported from beyond Israel’s 1967 lines because it is generally difficult to recognize products imported from Israel.

According to TAZ, the BDS group marked products on the shelves with notes that read, “Caution: The product could come from an illegal Israeli settlement.”

Israel Suspends EU’s Involvement in Peace Process Over Product Labeling

( In the aftermath of the European Union’s decision to drop “Made in Israel” labels on Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday suspended Israel’s relations with EU diplomatic contacts on their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israel will continue to have government-to-government contact with individual EU member nations, but not with EU-wide institutions until Israel reassesses the European bloc’s diplomatic role in the peace process.

An EU spokesperson said Monday that the EU would keep working on the peace process through the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, United States, EU and Russia) as well as its Arab partners despite Israel’s decision, because “peace in the Middle East [is] an issue of interest to the entire international community and also to all Europeans.”

Palestinian Authority Bans Official Hamas Television Channel

( The Palestinian Authority (PA) banned Al-Aqsa TV, the official television channel of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, Walla! News reported Monday.

The PA’s decision was reportedly made to help stop incitement to violence by Hamas in the disputed Palestinian territories. The broadcasts of Al-Asqa TV have focused on documenting and encouraging stabbings and other attacks by terrorists during the current wave of Palestinian terror throughout Israel. At the same time, Palestinian Media Watch has long chronicled incitement to violence against Israelis through the PA’s own official print and broadcast media outlets.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah political party is a rival of Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from the PA in 2007.

IDF Renews Search for Missing Soldier 18 Years After Disappearance

( Israeli Navy divers have started searching water reservoirs in the Golan Heights in a renewed effort to find Cpl. Guy Hever, an IDF soldier who went missing nearly two decades ago.

One water reservoir has been searched thus far, with no results, the IDF said. Additional reservoirs may be checked as well. Searches of open land areas in the Golan over the years have turned up no evidence of Hever’s fate.

The last confirmed sighting of Hever took place on Aug. 17, 1997, at his base in the Golan. Hever, then 20, later left the base carrying his Galil rifle, dog tag and ID card. There has been no contact with him since. One Golan resident believes she saw Hever at the Katzabia junction in the Golan a few hours after he left his base.

In addition to extensive searches of the Golan, Israel also engaged in diplomatic efforts to determine whether Hever somehow ended up in Syria.

Hever is one of five known missing Israeli soldiers. The other four are Zechariah Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz and Ron Arad.

Israel to Supply Egypt With Natural Gas for up to 15 Years

( Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field is expected to supply the Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings with up to 4 billion cubic meters (141 million cubic feet) of gas per year for 10 to 15 years, according to a preliminary deal announced last week.

“We’ve worked with Dolphinus before and we expect to reach a final agreement quickly,” Yossi Abu, chief executive of the Israeli company Delek Drilling, told Reuters.

“The Egyptian market is thirsty for gas, both for domestic use and for their export facilities. There is a lot of room for cooperation there,” Abu said.

The Leviathan gas field is expected to begin gas production in 2019 or 2020. Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group are jointly operating Leviathan as well as the Jewish state’s other offshore gas field, Tamar.

Netanyahu Aims to Allow Israelis Living Abroad to Vote in Elections

( Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that he plans to spearhead several electoral reforms, including one that would allow Israelis living abroad to vote in general elections.

Under Israeli law, absentee ballots are reserved for diplomatic corps personnel and official Israeli emissaries only. The law does not allow citizens who are traveling or have moved to other countries to vote.

The prime minister has also decided to promote the Jewish state bill, which seeks to declare Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Additionally, Netanyahu plans to change the system of choosing a government after an election, so that the head of the party with the largest number of votes is automatically tasked with forming the government. Under Israel’s current Election Law, the president consults with the parties and chooses the person he believes has the best chance of forming a coalition.

PM: Israel Will Not Transfer Even One Meter of Land to the Palestinians

( Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that Israel will not hand over territory to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Speaking to a meeting of Likud party ministers, the prime minister denied recent reports suggesting that the government planned to transfer 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres) of land over to PA control as a confidence-building measure.

“There will not be any transfer of land,” Netanyahu said. “Not 40,000 dunams, not 10,000, and not even one [square] meter.”

Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis also denied the recent reports.

“After the delusional idea of transferring weapons to the Palestinians,” Akunis said, referring to remarks to the media by an anonymous IDF officer who said the IDF would recommend easing restrictions on the Palestinians to calm tensions, “we are hearing about the initiative by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to hand over 10,000 dunams. We cannot let this happen.”

Israel to Establish Diplomatic Presence in Abu Dhabi

( Israel is set to establish its first diplomatic presence in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Israeli office will not formally constitute diplomatic representation to the United Arab Emirates, but instead to the United Nations International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which has its headquarters in the Gulf state.

Dore Gold, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, visited Abu Dhabi last week to discuss the future activities of the office and to finalize the opening of the mission, including meeting with IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin, Haaretz reported.

The opening of the mission follows a several-year process by Israel to establish a presence in the UAE. In 2009, Israel supported the UAE’s bid to host the headquarters of IRENA with the understanding that it would eventually allow Israel to have a diplomatic presence in the Gulf state. But the 2010 assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai, which the UAE blamed on Israel, set back the process. Israel will be the only country in the 145-member IRENA that will have its diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi accredited solely to IRENA.

FBI Investigates Threats Against North Carolina Jewish School

( The FBI and local police are investigating threats made against a Jewish day school located in Greensboro, N.C.

According to local reports, the B’nai Shalom Day School, a school affiliated with Beth David Synagogue in Greensboro, received a threatening letter last week that included racial epithets that indicated someone planned to harm people, the Greensboro News and Record reported.

B’nai Shalom Day School, the school affiliated with Beth David Synagogue in Greensboro, was closed Nov. 23-24 as a “precautionary measure,” a Greensboro police spokeswoman said.

“All of our Jewish community institutions remain vigilant in taking special precautions to ensure the safety of our staff members, our students and all community members,” said Marilyn Chandler, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Foundation.

U.N. Adopts Six Anti-Israel Resolutions

( The United Nations General Assembly last week adopted six anti-Israel resolutions sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and Syria.

In one of the resolutions, the U.N. condemned Israel for retaining the northern Golan Heights region, demanding that Israel hand that territory to Syria. Another resolution urged Israel to end its “occupation” of the Palestinian territories and invoked the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Six nations—Israel, United States, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau—voted against the measures, with four countries abstaining.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, called the world body’s timing on the resolutions “morally galling and logically absurd.”

“It’s astonishing,” said Neuer. “At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s rule?”

Neuer added, “What is also outrageous is that these resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. proves itself oblivious to the hundreds of Palestinians who continue to be slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces.”

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Tells Palestinians to Continue ‘Intifada’ Against Israel

( Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week expressed solidarity with the Palestinians by encouraging them to keep fighting Israel while Iran pledges to “defend [their] movement in any way” they can, according to Iran’s Press TV.

“The intifada of Palestinian people in the West Bank has started and people are fighting [against Israel],” Khamenei said.

“About 60 years have passed since the occupation of Palestine and these people have changed for a number of generations, but the cause of Palestine still exists,” he added.

Israel Helped Thwart Terror Attack in Germany

( Israel provided key intelligence to Germany two weeks ago regarding an impending terror attack at a soccer stadium, the German magazine Stern reported last week.

German authorities canceled a scheduled soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands at Hanover’s HDI Stadium on Nov. 17.

The intelligence Israel received revealed a threat similar to the attacks in Paris four days earlier, including specific times and targets.

“We had received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned,” Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe told the German NDR state broadcaster. “We took them seriously and that is why we took the measures.”

Visitors who had already arrived at the stadium—which seats more than 40,000—were evacuated from the venue as well as from other locations, including Hanover’s TUI multi-purpose arena (where a concert was about to begin) and a local train station.

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