April 22, 2024
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Top Hezbollah Commander Mustafa Badreddine Killed in Syria

(JNS.org) The Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah has appointed Mustafa Mughniyeh as its new military commander following the assassination of his uncle, Mustafa Badreddine, last week in Syria, in what was described by the terror group as a “major explosion” at Damascus International Airport, the London-based Arabic daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

Badreddine, 55, was the commander of Hezbollah’s contingent that had been fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government against opposition forces and Sunni terror groups such as Islamic State and the Nusra Front.

In the announcement on his death, Hezbollah said, “He said months ago that he would not return from Syria except as a martyr or carrying the flag of victory. He is the great jihadi leader Mustafa Badreddine, and he has returned today a martyr.”

The Beirut-based Al Mayadeen satellite TV network, which is sympathetic to Hezbollah, initially reported that Badreddine was killed in an Israeli airstrike. But the network later removed that report from its website.

Badreddine has been linked to nearly every high-profile Hezbollah terror attack over the last 30 years, including many against Israel and the 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. He was also behind the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait.

 

Lebanon’s Central Bank Will Comply With U.S. Finance Law Targeting Hezbollah

(JNS.org) The head of Lebanon’s powerful central bank said that it will comply with a United States finance law that targets the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Last December, the U.S. government passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly facilitate Hezbollah’s activities.

“The U.S. law has to be implemented worldwide and in Lebanon,” said Riad Salameh, governor of Lebanon’s central bank, Reuters reported. “It is not possible to guarantee credit stability if [the central bank] does not implement the U.S. law.”

Lebanon’s banking sector, which accounts for 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), is one of the few institutions within Lebanon that isn’t dysfunctional or corrupt. Salameh said that banks intending to close the accounts of individuals or organizations violating the U.S. law will need to wait for a response from the central bank’s Special Investigation Committee.

Hezbollah enjoys deep ties and support within Lebanon’s Shi’a Muslim community. Its members include high-profile government ministers, politicians and other local officials.

 

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Congregants in Touro Synagogue Dispute

(JNS.org) A federal judge ruled in favor of the congregants of the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., in an ownership dispute that threatened to shutter the historic building.

U.S. District Judge Jack McConnell on Monday awarded Newport-based Congregation Jeshuat Israel control over the historic Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest Jewish congregation, while rejecting arguments from New York City-based Congregation Shearith Israel—which has acted as a trustee of the synagogue for nearly 200 years—that it is the rightful owner of the building, the Associated Press reported.

The dispute dates back to 2012, when Jeshuat Israel, facing financial difficulties that threatened to shutter the synagogue, attempted to sell a set of bells from Torah scrolls to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for $7.4 million in order to remain open. But Congregation Shearith Israel, which became a trustee of the synagogue in the 1820s, rejected the move and said it was the bells’ rightful owner.

Yet in Monday’s 106-page decision, McConnell wrote, “The central issue here is the legacy of some of the earliest Jewish settlers in North America, who desired to make Newport a permanent haven for public Jewish worship.”

 

Roman Treasure Discovered in Cargo of Sunken Ancient Ship off Israel’s Coast

(JNS.org) The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Monday that two divers discovered the cargo of an ancient Roman merchant ship off the coast of Caesarea, Israel, during the recent Passover holiday. The ship sank during the late Roman period 1,600 years ago.

Divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra’anan immediately contacted the IAA after their discovery. A subsequent dive with IAA archaeologists led to the further discovery of numerous items that had been in the ship’s cargo, many of which were very well preserved. The items include a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, animal statues and two metallic lumps made from thousands of coins in the form of the pottery vessel in which they had been transported.

The unique metallic lumps weigh about 44 pounds, while many of the coins themselves bear the image of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who is known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity and make it the official religion of the empire.

 

Ya’alon to IDF Officers: Don’t Shy Away From Publicly Disagreeing With Government

(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon worked out their differences after a disagreement on comments by Ya’alon that military officers should speak their minds publicly even when they go against the government’s positions.

The prime minister summoned the defense minister for a clarification meeting on Monday after Ya’alon asked Israel Defense Forces officers at an event in Tel Aviv on Sunday to express themselves “even if your ideas conflict with the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the government.” After the meeting, Ya’alon and Netanyahu issued a joint statement saying that “our differences have been ironed out. There is no argument that the military is subordinate to the government and that IDF officers are free to express their opinions in the appropriate forums.”

Referring to how IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan—who recently compared Israeli society to Nazi Germany on Holocaust Remembrance Day—was widely criticized for speaking his mind, Ya’alon had told the military officers on Sunday, “I once again demand that you and the soldiers under your command keep saying whatever is on your mind. Do it even if what you have to say is not part of the mainstream, and even if your ideas conflict with the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the government… Continue acting on your human conscience and moral compass, and don’t blindly follow the direction of the wind.”

 

Second British University Cuts Ties With Student Union Over Anti-Israel President

(JNS.org) The United Kingdom’s Newcastle University became the second school to cut ties with the country’s National Union of Students (NUS) following the election of an anti-Israel president.

On Thursday, Newcastle University’s student union voted in favor of dis-affiliating with the NUS. The disaffiliation came just days after the student union at the U.K.’s Lincoln University also voted in favor of leaving the NUS.

The decision by the two schools follows the April 21 election of Malia Bouattia as NUS president. Bouattia, who is a Muslim, has said that boycotts against Israel should come in conjunction with “Palestinian resistance.” She has also criticized her alma mater, Birmingham University, for being a “Zionist outpost in higher education,” lamenting that it has “the largest Jsoc (Jewish student society) in the country.”

 

Israeli Mossad Ad Blends Clear and Cryptic Techniques to Recruit Cyber Workers

(JNS.org) The Mossad wants you—if you can figure out what this says. That is the message of the Israeli spy agency’s latest campaign to recruit cyber workers, launched on the eve of the country’s Independence Day.

The ad, which includes coded text, aims to seek out potential employees for the Mossad’s cyber division and for other special jobs. The ad debuted in Israel Hayom and other Israeli publications on Wednesday and features two parts: one hidden, the other exposed. The exposed section features the Mossad symbol, the menorah, and the verse from Proverbs 11:14 that the agency uses as its motto: “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” The ad also features computer code comprising English letters and numbers, along with the English text, “Are you ready for a challenge?”

The part that remains hidden is aimed at programmers and hackers, and tells the story of an agent in trouble who is trying to open the door. The idea behind the ad is that anyone who can read the hidden text should contact the Mossad, thus undergoing a selection exercise even before the formal screening process.

 

White House Appoints Chanan Weissman as Jewish Community Liaison

(JNS.org) The White House on Thursday approved a new liaison to the American Jewish community, Chanan Weissman, who will be the first Orthodox Jew to fill the position for a Democratic presidential administration.

Two other Orthodox Jews have held the same position in Republican administrations. One of them, Tevi Troy, who served in the role under president George W. Bush, told Jewish Insider that he sees an “advantage but also a challenge” to being Orthodox in the White House post.

“The advantage is that you have instant credibility within the community as knowledgeable and credible representing the community. The challenge is that the bulk of American Jews are not Orthodox and you have to show you can reach out to all,” Troy said.

Weissman, who replaces Matt Nosanchuk, is the former spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Nosanchuk held the Jewish liaison position for almost three years.

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