February 26, 2024
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Fatality in Crane Collapse Identified as Orthodox Jew

(Arutz Sheva) The only fatality in a crane collapse that took place in New York City on Friday has been identified as an Orthodox Jewish resident of the Upper West Side by the name of David Wichs.

The collapse took place at 60 Worth Street, and police officers and EMS who responded to the scene pronounced Wichs, who was 38 years old, dead at the scene. There was no other fatality in the incident. Two other seriously injured victims were treated on the scene before being transported to area hospitals.

According to the AP, “Wichs worked as an analyst for Tower Research Capital, a financial trading firm with offices in Lower Manhattan, located just two and a half blocks from the site of the deadly collapse.”

Wichs was the son of a Dr. Tomas Wichs, who worked as a computer scientist, and his wife, Dr. Adela Wichs, who was a well-known Borough Park pediatrician. The couple emigrated to the United States from Prague with their two sons over 20 years ago.

Bernie Sanders Becomes First Jewish Candidate to Win Presidential Primary

(JNS.org) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday convincingly won the Democratic presidential race’s New Hampshire’s primary over opponent Hillary Clinton, 60-38.3 percent, becoming the first Jewish candidate to ever win a presidential primary. Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady, had narrowly defeated Sanders in the Iowa caucus earlier this month.

Business magnate Donald Trump won New Hampshire’s Republican primary with 35.2 percent of the vote, with Ohio Governor John Kasich placing second at 15.9 percent and Iowa caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) coming in third at 11.6 percent.

It was recently revealed that Sanders volunteered on the Shaar Haamakim kibbutz in northern Israel in 1963, possibly influencing the senator’s socialist political beliefs. While it was previously known that Sanders spent time on a kibbutz, the identity of that kibbutz was a mystery.

While Sanders’s approach to Israel and the Middle East was also somewhat of a mystery in the early stages of his candidacy, given his heavy focus on domestic issues like income inequality, he has provided some clues in recent weeks. On Sunday, Sanders cited the liberal Jewish lobby group J Street and the Arab American Institute as Middle East foreign policy advisers.

“We’ve talked to people like Jim Zogby, talked to the people on J Street to get a broad perspective of the Middle East,” Sanders said on NBC program “Meet the Press.”

J Street and the Arab American Institute, which is headed by James Zogby, have frequently criticized Israel and mainstream pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for their stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While J Street says it has a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” mission, it has been accused of collaborating with anti-Israel groups, such as through event co-sponsorships on college campuses.

Sanders also recently called for the swift normalization of U.S. relations with Iran, a position that Clinton has opposed and that the Obama administration, despite brokering last summer’s nuclear deal with Iran, has not adopted.

Iran Reportedly Hacks Former IDF Chief’s Computer

(JNS.org) Iranian hackers have reportedly managed to hack into a private computer used by a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff as well as dozens of other computers belonging to Israelis.

According to a report by Israel’s Channel 10, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched a cyber-attack last year on dozens of Israeli computers that mostly belonged to current or former Israeli security officials. While the Iranians ceased the operation after their efforts were discovered, what remains unclear is the extent of the damage caused by the hackers and what specific information they took.

The report also said that Israeli cyber-security experts were able to identify one of the hackers, Yasser Balachi, who had mistakenly revealed his email address.

“Balachi said that he had not operated on his own initiative, rather for another cyber organization that commissioned the work,” said Ron Davidson, head of security services at Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point.

UNESCO Recognizes Israel’s Aleppo Codex as World Treasure

(JNS.org) Israel’s Aleppo Codex, believed to be the world’s oldest copy of the Hebrew Bible, has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a unique world treasure.

The Aleppo Codex, which was written in Tiberias around 930 CE and is currently held by the Israel Museum, was officially recognized by UNESCO as a unique item with universal characteristics and will be listed among the organization’s registry of 300 items and collections that have been compiled since 1995, Haaretz reported.

The more than 1,000-year-old manuscript was smuggled out of Aleppo, Syria, where it has been in the possession of that city’s Jewish community for centuries. It eventually made its way to Israel in the 1950s. Originally 500 pages long, 200 pages had gone missing by the time of its arrival in Israel.

Two other items from Israel—the Rothschild Miscellany, a collection of 15-century manuscripts, and the Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem—already belong to the UNESCO registry.

Netanyahu Calls for Fence Along All of Israel’s Borders

(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government is working towards erecting a full border fence around Israel in order to protect the country from the “wild beasts” that are terrorists.

“We are preparing a multi-year project to encircle Israel with a security fence, to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be,” Netanyahu said while touring a security fence being erected along Israel’s border with Jordan.

“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” he added. “I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”

Catholic, Russian Orthodox Churches Set for Meeting on Middle East

(JNS.org) The leaders of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches will meet for the first time since their schism 1,000 years ago, in order to discuss the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

The two-hour meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will be held at Havana Airport in Cuba next week.

“This event has extraordinary importance in the path of ecumenical relations and dialogue among Christian confessions,” Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Senior Russian Orthodox cleric Metropolitan Hilarion said the two denominations “need to put aside internal disagreements at this tragic time and join efforts to save Christians in the regions where they are subject to the most atrocious persecution.”

“The situation as it has developed today in the Middle East, in North and Central Africa, and in some other regions in which extremists are perpetrating a real genocide of the Christian population, has required urgent measures and closer cooperation between Christian churches,” said Hilarion.

The Great Schism of 1054 separated the Eastern Orthodox and Western Roman Catholic churches over ecclesiastical differences.

Turkish President Erdogan Meets With Top U.S. Jewish Leaders

(JNS.org) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday met with top American Jewish leaders amid negotiations that may lead to a resumption of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel.

Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Stephen M. Greenberg, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, led the Jewish delegation that met with Erdogan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara.

“They discussed a range of issues including relations between Turkey, the United States and Israel, terrorism and extremism, and regional conflicts,” the Conference of Presidents said in a press release. “The [American Jewish] delegation was accompanied by heads of the Turkish Jewish community, led by Isak Ibrimzadeh. The far-ranging discussion dealt with issues such as energy, incitement, and the role of Russia, Iran and other countries. They also talked about their commonalities as descendants of the Abrahamic faiths and the multiple challenges that they face, emphasizing the need to work together to fight manifestations of hate against Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others. President Erdogan outlined eight of his policy priorities, including the issue of energy and potential for regional cooperation involving Israel as well.”

Turkey and Israel have so far been unsuccessful in efforts to restore their diplomatic ties, which deteriorated following the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.

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