Jewish World Update Mar/Apr 2019

In response to the increasing anti-Semitic attacks in France, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Diaspora Affairs and Education Minister Naftali Bennett to formulate a plan to increase Jewish immigration to Israel from France, has reported.

“There are 200,000 Jews in France who want to make Aliyah [immigrate] to Israel, and all of the state systems are just unprepared for it. These people are Zionists, they are moral, they are lovers of the Jewish people, and it is our moral obligation to help them,” Bennett said.

According to French police, one out of every three race-based crimes reported in 2016 was committed against Jewish people, even though they comprise less than 1 percent of France’s population. And recently, French authorities discovered anti-Semitic vandalism on tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Herrlisheim in northeastern France. The vandals tagged several tombs with swastikas and wrote inscriptions on the cemetery walls, such as “Crif=Zog” or “88,” a formula used by neo-Nazi groups to designate Hitler.

A Diaspora Ministry report on global anti-Semitism published in January 2018 called Muslim immigrants in Europe “a major risk factor to the Jewish communities of western Europe,” claiming more than half of all immigrants in Western Europe hold anti-Semitic views.

Similarly, the results of a recent European Union online survey of more than 16,000 Jews in 12 European countries revealed that nearly 90 percent of them feel anti-Semitism has increased in their home nations over the past five years, and almost 30 percent said they have been harassed at least once in the past year. Eighty-five percent rated anti-Semitism as the biggest social problem in their home countries, and 38 percent have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe.

Bennett plans to create a master plan for increasing Aliyah among French Jews and will present it to the ministerial committee that deals with Aliyah and absorption.

From news sources

Israeli Christian, Muslim, and Druze minority leaders advocated for Israel as a beacon of light for human rights at the recent sixth annual Zionist Conference for Human Rights held in Tel Aviv on international Human Rights Day.

“There is no country that is more just than Israel,” said Capt. Shadi Halul, chairman of the Christian Israel Defense Forces Officers Forum. “[Israel] provides full and equal rights to all of its citizens. As a minority, I can testify to all the horrors that Christians experienced and continue to experience in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. But in Israel, we live freely in peace.”

Muslim social activist Kazim Khalilieh, who presents pro-Israel lectures around the world, discussed the difficulties of advocating for Israel as a member of the Muslim community. “It’s not easy to go against the current,” said Khalilieh. “Two years ago, my parents stopped talking to me because of my support for Israel. But that is who I am; I need to stand up for the truth.”

Druze attorney and activist Hazar Gadben added, “All the radical-left Jews who slander and demonize Israel need to wake up and understand that if they were the minority in Israel, they would go back to being ‘Jews with big noses’ and would be oppressed to no end.”

The annual conference aims to underscore the unbreakable connection between Zionism and human rights and to counter those who use the call of human rights to slander and delegitimize Israel.

The conference awarded Im Tirtzu’s Zionist Prize for Human Rights to social activist and bereaved father Boaz Kokia, whose son Ron was murdered in 2017 in a terror attack, and to Rabbi Arie Levy, the founder of Rescuers Without Borders, which provides medical assistance to those in need throughout the world.

After the United Nations’ decision not to pass a resolution condemning Hamas as a terror group, both the U.S. House and the Senate passed a bipartisan bill calling for the sanctioning of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that use human shields in war.

The Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act mandates the president to impose sanctions on any entity that “knowing and materially supports, orders, controls, directs, or otherwise engages in” the exercise of human shields.

“The international community has failed to hold these groups accountable, and…the United Nations [has] refused to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning Hamas,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said. “The United States is sending a message that it will not turn a blind eye to terrorist war crimes the way the United Nations does [and] that those who use civilians as human shields…will be held accountable.”

In response to increased Latin American tourism to Israel, LATAM Airlines recently completed the first-ever direct flight from Latin America to Israel. This new route from Santiago, Chile, to Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv serves as the sole direct route from Latin America to Israel and functions once a day on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

“The arrival in Israel of LATAM Airlines—one of the largest in South America—is a breakthrough in flight connections,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. From January to November of last year, 146,000 tourists traveled from Latin America to Israel—a 62 percent increase compared to 2016, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

The University of California has become the first institution of higher education to condemn faculty support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led campaign against Israeli businesses and universities.

“As chancellors of the University of California campuses, we write to reaffirm our long-standing opposition to an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions and/or individual scholars,” the school’s 10 chancellors said in a statement. “We believe a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty.”

Last year, several U.S. professors came under fire for their refusal to write letters of recommendation for Jewish students seeking to study in Israel, citing academic boycotts of Israel.

Israel expects its new natural-gas pipeline running from Israel to Jordan to begin official operations late this year. Lauded as a “boost for peace,” the pipeline will allow Israeli gas to be pumped into Jordan and potentially to other Arab countries in the region.

The work aims to double the length of an existing pipeline running inside Israel along its border with Jordan and to add a new line running directly through the countries’ mutual border. “We are in the advanced stages of laying the Israel-Jordan natural-gas pipeline,” said Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. “This is a significant link between Israel’s energy infrastructure and that of the Arab world, and it has great value in terms of strengthening the axis of peace in the Middle East.”

A Palestinian girl called Jews “wild apes,” “miserable pigs,” and “evil creatures” at a recent conference in Gaza for the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People.

“Oh sons of Zion, the most evil of creatures, oh you wild apes, you miserable pigs—Jerusalem is not your [land]. Jerusalem rejects you. Jerusalem spits out your filth. . . . Jerusalem, you dirty people, is pure and clean. I do not fear the rifle. As long as I have my heart, my Koran, and my city, as long as I have my arm and my stones, and as long as I am free, I will not sell out the Palestinian cause,” the girl recited.

Al-Jazeera TV aired the conference.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently promised to take strong action against Airbnb for its decision to remove all Jewish listings from its site in Judea and Samaria over what the company alleged as “Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”

“They delisted all Jewish listings in the West Bank,” said DeSantis. “They do not treat anybody else in the entire world like this. It’s only targeted to the Jewish community.”

The governor’s decision followed the Florida town of Surfside’s condemnation of Airbnb for violating its agreement with the town to prohibit discriminatory boycotts. Airbnb is a private company that provides an online service through which people can book lodging around the world.


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