Jewish World Update Jan/Feb 2020

Jewish Boy Forced to Kiss Shoes of Muslim Classmate; 5-Year-Old Called ‘Jewish Cockroach’
Melbourne, Australia
Two Jewish students have been taken out of school after being the targets of anti-Semitic bullying in two separate incidents, JNS.org reported.

In one case, a 12-year-old Jewish schoolboy at Cheltenham Secondary College in Victoria was forced to kneel down and kiss the shoe of a Muslim boy after nine children, ages 12 and 13, circled him in a Melbourne park and threatened him with violence, reported the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.

In a separate instance, JNS.org said, a 5-year-old boy at Hawthorn West Primary School was called a “Jewish cockroach” and “dirty Jew.” He was chased continuously to the bathroom and laughed at for being circumcised to the point that he started to wet himself in class rather than use the toilet, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Adam Carey, who reported on the incidents for The Age, a Melbourne daily, said the shoe-kissing “was filmed, photographed and shared on social media.” He also said, “One of the boys who watched was later suspended for five days for assaulting the Jewish student in the school locker room.”

The mother of the 5-year-old told the Australian Jewish News that her son was so distraught by the abuse that “he literally fell down on the floor and said, ‘Mummy, you shouldn’t love me. I’m a worthless, Jewish rodent. I’m vermin,’” JNS.org reported.

The school’s solution was to let the child use a different bathroom, rejecting the mother’s suggestion to educate students about anti-Semitism.

The 12-year-old’s mother told The Age that one of the most disturbing aspects of the other children’s insults was the way they mirrored the anti-Semitic language of the Holocaust. “The words ‘you dirty Jew’ and ‘Jewish cockroach,’ they are such clichés,” she said, reported Carey.

“I grew up with Holocaust survivors,” she added. “I used to go to synagogue with my uncle who was a Holocaust survivor and those were the words, literally, he was taunted with when he was five.” She said she sat down with both students involved in the bullying and the parents of the Muslim boy, who apparently were horrified by their son’s actions. The school has refused to act because the bullying did not take place on school grounds.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation Commission, told the Australian Jewish News the incidents are part of widespread anti-Semitic bullying in the country’s schools. “There is mounting evidence that families are forced to take their children out of public schools and to enroll them in Jewish day schools due to a growing sense of insecurity and fear that their kids will be harmed simply because of who they are,” said Abramovich.

‘Divide Jerusalem!’ Says Elizabeth Warren
At least three U.S. presidential contenders would cut aid to Israel, and one would divide Jerusalem and help the Palestinians establish a capital there. Speaking to the J Street lobbying group, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) vowed to divide Jerusalem and restore aid to the scandal-ridden United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other Palestinian organizations, reported worldisraelnews.com. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told J Street (to thundering applause) that he would take some of the $3.8 billion going to Israel for defense and give it to Hamas-run Gaza. He also called the Israeli government “racist,” JNS.org reported. “Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself,” responded Nikki Haley on Twitter. “He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal. Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong?” Haley, a Republican, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Also vowing to cut or withhold aid to Israel is Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic contender from Indiana.

U.S. Military Gets Israeli Technology
Israeli defense corporation Rafael says it has delivered the first shipment of the Trophy Active Protection System to the U.S. Army, reported JNS.org. The system protects the lives of tank crews. It was first deployed by the Israel Defense Forces in 2011 and has intercepted many threats fired at Israeli armored vehicles. It eventually will be installed aboard four American M1 main battle tank brigades for both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty May be Threatened
The 25th anniversary of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty came and went in October 2019 with no celebration. Instead, Jordan refused to renew Israel’s 25-year lease on 247 acres of farmland that will have to be turned over to Jordan, affecting dozens of Israeli farmers, JNS.org reported. In addition, a member of the Jordanian House of Representatives says the peace treaty itself is “under threat” after Israeli “incursions” on the Temple Mount, The Jerusalem Post said. The “incursions” involved Israelis visiting the Mount. However, the Muslims have built illegal mosques on the site, destroying Jewish artifacts.

Jerusalem ‘Spooked’ by Russian Mideast Power
Russia quickly moved into military bases in northern Syria that the United States vacated, cementing its status “as the predominant global military power actively engaged in the Middle East,” reported timesofisrael.com. “Many officials in Jerusalem are deeply worried about being abandoned by their superpower ally, as the American decision to gradually disengage from this part of the world—which started under former U.S. President Barack Obama—threatens to embolden Israel’s enemies: Iran and its allies and proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and elsewhere,” timesofisrael.com said.

Israelis Develop Piston engine That Runs on Water Not Gas
Three Israelis working out of a garage near Miami, Florida, say they have invented a piston engine that runs on 70 percent water, 30 percent alcohol, and zero gasoline, according to The Jerusalem Post. Their company is MayMaan Research. “This revolutionary system can be applied, say its founders, with simple yet sophisticated modifications of existing engine designs, and saves 50 percent on fuel costs, produces far fewer emissions than gasoline or diesel, and is up to 60 percent more efficient than gasoline,” the Post reported. MayMaan has built four operating prototypes, including a car and generator. Yehuda Shmueli, 81, is the mastermind; his sons Eitan and Doron are the executives. “The whole thing started,” Eitan said, “when my father was a boy living in Israel. He didn’t see an end to the wars, and he figured out at a very young age that if dependence on oil could be eliminated or reduced, that these problems could be solved.”

Israel to Send 85 Athletes to Olympics
Israel plans to send its largest delegation ever to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, reported
JNS.org. An estimated 85 athletes will compete in 18 sports, July 24 through August 9. “This is the ultimate dream come true,” said Peter Kurz, Israel Association of Baseball president and general manager of Team Israel. “If we can have the best army in the world and the best high-tech in the world, why can’t we have the best athletes?” said Vered Buskila, vice president of the Olympic Committee of Israel. Israel has won nine Olympic medals since 1952.

P Is for Palestine?
The borough of Highland Park, New Jersey, and its library are being sued because of the library’s planned book reading of P Is for Palestine, an alphabet book for young children, JNS.org reported. “In its current form, the book is thought to be an adaptation of a Palestinian teacher manual, designed to indoctrinate children to vilify Jews and Israel, as well as advocate for the destruction of the Jewish state,” JNS.org said. The book also teaches “I Is for Intifada,” which it claims means “to stand up for what is right.” Jerusalem district court documents have defined the word as a premeditated terror and murder campaign.

One-Third of U.S. Jews Now feel Afraid
One-third of U.S. Jews are afraid to wear anything in public that identifies them as Jewish and believe anti-Semitism in the United States is “a very serious problem” and growing worse, according to the results of the 2019 “AJC Survey of American Jews on Antisemitism in America.” To see the results, go to www.ajc.org/AntisemitismSurvey2019.

For news about Israel updated daily, log on to foi.org/news.

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