May 21, 2024
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IAF Hit Syrian Targets Wednesday

The Israeli Air Force bombed three of Assad’s military positions inside Syria after IDF troops were targeted and killed near the Syrian border on Tuesday. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned Assad he would “regret his actions.” The attack and retaliation are the most serious confrontation between Israel and Syria in the three years since the conflict began. Shaul Mofaz, former defense chief, said the situation will continue to be a serious challenge. The Assad family had kept the border quiet for the last 40 years, and the situation is now chaotic. Yaalon’s statement put the blame on Assad’s government and not on Hezbollah, the terrorist Shia group aligned with Iran and based in Lebanon. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said Syria’s army assisted and participated in attacks on Israeli forces. “Our policy is clear. We hurt those who hurt us.”

Israeli Survivors Assist African Refugees

YNet reports that 20 elderly Holocaust survivors from the Council to Benefit Holocaust Survivors, fed up with the way asylum-seekers from Darfur and Eritrea are treated by the Israeli government, distributed food and water to the refugees. In recent months, thousands of refugees, including “babies, children and pregnant women,” have waited outside the office of the Population and Immigration Authority in Tel Aviv for hours to renew their visas. Batya Rapaport, a 75-year-old Holocaust survivor, said the action was an initiative taken by survivors and the foundation’s workers “see people waiting for hours in the rain, in the cold, and in unbearable conditions. …It takes you back to a time in which you were constantly chased and your life was in danger. …Beyond politics, we want to say that human beings cannot overlook the suffering of other people.” Esther Miron, an 80-year-old Auschwitz survivor said, “When I see people who fled their homes and were left with nothing, I cannot stay silent—I was in that situation too… Israeli society has a history … We cannot stay indifferent to human suffering; that should be our primary thought. We established a country here to set a moral example.”

Erdogan’s Problems Deepen in Turkey

At least two people died last Wednesday in Turkey as police forces moved to quell the worst civil unrest to grip the country since last summer’s mass protests, with The Guardian assessing that the deaths had “set the mood in Turkey further on edge” and “highlighted the deepening polarisation of Turkish politics.” The protests were sparked by the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who had been in a coma since being struck by a tear gas canister during the summer protests. The BBC reported that at least 32 towns and cities across Turkey were swept up in the latest turmoil. The outlet also reported more specifically on Elvan’s funeral, which saw huge crowds blaming Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for murdering the boy. Erdogan on Thursday condemned the anti-government protesters as “charlatans” who aimed at destabilizing Turkey.

Herzog: I Won’t Enter Netanyahu’s Coalition

Arutz Sheva reports MK Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) told Channel 10 News on Motzoei Shabbat that he will not join Bibi Netanyahu’s coalition. Herzog also attacked on Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and accused of him being a failure. Though he supports the enlistment of hareidim into the army, he felt there was an “overly combative approach by elements within the government, possibly a reference to the Yesh Atid party, which he said had in fact led to a “futile result… “I am very sad… very sorry for the fact that communities clash with communities in the Land of Israel, because that should not be the case,” he said. “There should be further dialogue and further talks between the parties, and not one shoving the other and making a [political] point.”

First Time Ever: J Street Joins YU Panel

Washington Heights—The YU Observer reports that for the first-time ever, J Street founder and executive director, Jeremy Ben Ami was invited to the school to participate in “a much-anticipated panel discussion entitled Zionism Today. The other participants were Danny Ayalon, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., and Yehudah HaKohen, founder and director of Alternative Action. The “buzz”, as the Observer noted, brought a large crowd to the event. Yitz Eichenstein, a RIETS student and an organizer of the event, said the YU administration not allow J Street to come alone because of a “concern about the outcome” and insisted the event not be open to the public. Eichenstein got backlash from some YU students, who defaced some posters advertising the event. According to the Observer, security guards were stationed throughout the location to “ensure the panel ran smoothly and was not disrupted by protestors.” HaKohen condemned Ayalon and Ben-Ami’s almost similar solutions for a two-state solution and their “chumminess with the U.S.” He said Israel is a Western vassal and that it is “ridiculous” for Israel to align itself with the West instead of embracing its ‘authentic Semitic identity.’” One student told the Observer she was “very impressed that YU was willing to host this sort of event and to discuss these issues in a public setting.” A Stern alumnus would not comment because she found the event very controversial.

Ban Ki-Moon Slams Iran on Human Rights

A report on Iran issued by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, broadly emphasized that there had been no fundamental improvement in Iranian human rights since the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, “despite pledges made by the president during his campaign and after his swearing in.” Deutsche Welle reported Ban’s report dealt with the plight of Iranian women, whose assessment is that “women’s rights activists continue to face arrest and persecution” and are “subject to discrimination, entrenched in law and in practice.”:Iran’s penal code officially deems a woman’s life and her testimony in court to be worth half of a man’s, while the civil code allows girls as young as 13 to be married off. DW quoted Faraz Sanei, an Iran researcher attached to Human Rights Watch, insisting that “Rouhani has talked a good talk… but he is not going to put himself out on a limb. He is merely nibbling at the periphery.” Meanwhile the Huffington Post on Thursday ran an expose on anti-gay discrimination in Iran. The punishment for homosexuality in Iran is death.

 

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