Jewish World Update Jan/Feb 2021
27-Year-Old Buys El Al Airlines For $150 Million
Israel’s failing El Al Airlines, suffering under $2 billion in debt, has been purchased by 27-year-old, New York-born Eli Rozenberg who placed the only bid at a share offering at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, reported timesofisrael.com.
Rozenberg, a Yeshiva student in Jerusalem and son of Orthodox-Jewish American businessman Kenny Rozenberg, bought a controlling 42.85 percent stake for $150 million through his company Kanfei Nesharim. The State of Israel purchased around $30 million worth of shares “for a stake that could equal between 12% and 15% of the company,” the news outlet reported.
“The share issue,” it said, “was part of a $400 million rescue package formulated by the Finance Ministry, consisting of government-backed loans for a total of $250 million with guarantees for 75 percent of the loan in case of defaults; the share offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at a minimum price of NIS 0.671 [20 cents] per share to help prop up the equity of the firm, which has more than $2 billion of net debt; and efficiency steps, including cutting back on 2,000 workers.”
Timesofisrael.com said the coronavirus crisis dealt the airline a near-fatal blow, forcing El Al “to cease its scheduled passenger operations and send some 5,800 of its 6,303 employees out on unpaid leave.” El Al owes $350 million in refunds to passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the virus.
The purchase is not without controversy, however. Some speculate Eli, who holds Israeli citizenship (a precondition for ownership of El Al), is fronting for his father, Kenny. Kenny Rozenberg is the owner and chief executive officer of Centers Health Care in New York and also owns a winemaking business.
“In their correspondence with Israeli regulators, Eli Rozenberg’s representatives, meanwhile have stressed that he, and only he, will be the new owner of El Al and that it will be he, and not his father, who will be running the business,” timesofisrael.com reported.
Malawi to Be First African State With Embassy in Jerusalem
Malawi plans to open an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem by summer 2021, making it the first African nation to do so, Malawian Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka announced, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called Malawi a “pioneer,” saying the decision further proved “the ties between the country and the widening of the circle of peace. Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Israel, will be a bridge of peace for the whole world, and I call on more countries to follow in Malawi’s path and move their embassies to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” Ashkenazi said.
The United States and Guatemala are the only countries with embassies in Jerusalem. Several others have expressed their intent to open one, including Brazil, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, Honduras, Moldova, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
Since its founding in 1964, Malawi has been one of the few African states with which Israel has continuously had diplomatic relations. Israel has provided Malawi with aid, especially in the area of agriculture, for many years.
Malawi is bordered by Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia in southeastern Africa. More than 80 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, according to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report.
Special Friends of Israel News Report: Bringing Back Dan
When the Romans exiled the Jewish people from their land in AD 70, some Jews (believed to be from the tribe of Dan) made it to Africa. For the last 2,000 years, they have been living in modern-day Ethiopia—and many of them want to go home. Today, 8,000 practicing Jewish Ethiopians want to return to Israel.
In a landmark decision in late 2020, the Israeli government paved the way for 2,000 Ethiopians to make aliyah (immigrate) through the Law of Return and be reunited with loved ones who immigrated long ago.
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry is helping to make this wave of aliyah possible by partnering with the Jewish Agency for Israel. If you feel led to correct an injustice and support the Lord’s prophetic plan by helping Ethiopian Jews return to their ancient homeland and reunite with their families, please consider giving to our Aliyah Return Fund, either online, by mail, or over the phone. Every penny goes directly toward the effort to bring God’s Chosen People home.
Facebook’s Faceless Bigotry
The threat of Knesset legislative action has prompted Facebook to reinstate the account of a small, conservative Israeli publishing house. Facebook blocked Shibbolet Library from selling its books over the social medium and made off with Shibbolet’s initial $34,000 payment. It also blocked Shibbolet from accessing its own client information, reported Caroline Glick (carolineglick.com). Founder and CEO Rotem Sela appealed seven times. “He was informed that Facebook had decided to permanently freeze Shibbolet’s account. Why? Why bother asking? No one was answering,” Glick said. Consequently, Likud MK Amit Halevy submitted a bill titled Social Media Responsibility for Content Published on its Platforms. If passed into law, companies interfering with posted content will no longer enjoy immunity from lawsuits, Glick reported.
Jews Can’t Gather, Muslims Can
“While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo targets Orthodox Jews, Muslim mass gatherings go on. Like Black Lives Matter riots, Muslim mobs don’t spread the virus,” read a headline in frontpagemag.com. “In early October 2020,” wrote Daniel Greenfield, “videos show a huge knot of Muslim men [in Flushing, Queens] packed closely together in circles, not wearing masks or with masks down, chanting and furiously beating their chests in memory of [Shiite Imam] Hussein’s martyrdom. . . . It’s one of a number of Shiite mass gatherings in New York and New Jersey.” However, neither Cuomo nor New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio did anything. Yet they dispatched police to disband the Jewish people, accused them of spreading the virus, and threatened to shut down synagogues. And, “Unlike the Orthodox Jewish prayers of the High Holy Days and the Sukkot celebrations, these Shiite Muslim gatherings were not written up by the New York Post, the New York Daily News, or The New York Times as a public threat,” Greenfield said.
Israel Had Secret Embassy In Bahrain
“While the signing of the Abraham Accords signifies the first official diplomatic ties between Israel and Bahrain, the Jewish state has, in fact, been operating a secret embassy in the Bahraini capital of Manama” for 11 years, reported The Jerusalem Post. The mission was registered on July 13, 2009, as The Center for International Development, a company providing marketing, promotion and investment services, according to a report by Axios, the Post reported. However, the employment criteria was extremely narrow: Israeli diplomats possessing dual nationality.
For news about Israel updated daily, log on to foi.org/news.