Jewish World Update May/Jun 2020

More Hotels Coming to Dead Sea
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism and Land Authority recently announced the winners of two tenders for the construction of four new Dead Sea hotels, part of a new complex that will be built alongside a shopping center and 430,000-square-foot conference center.

Africa Israel, Fattal Hotels, Elad Hotels, and Barclays Israel won the tender to build their hotels, amounting to 1,000 rooms, in the new tourism area between Ein Bokek and Hamei Zohar in the southern Dead Sea. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has already inaugurated a 2.5-mile and half-a-billion-shekel ($145 million) promenade along the seashore there. According to Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, there is a “tourism revolution at the Dead Sea,” and Israel is “leveraging it as an attractive and modern tourist destination.”

Although it has been nearly 20 years since hotels went up in the area, the region enjoys the highest annual average occupancy of hotels in Israel. With the boom in tourism, Levin welcomed the employment the hotels will bring.

According to Noam Bedein, Israeli photojournalist for the Dead Sea Revival Project, tourism to the Dead Sea is not only good for the economy, but also for engaging with Israel in a hands-on manner. On Bedein’s ecotourism excursions by boat and kayak (which have seen a tourist increase of 500 percent), guests receive his time-lapse documentation for the Dead Sea that tells a tale of beauty, but also of a looming ecological disaster.

Tourism, he told JNS, is a double-edged sword. Commercial ventures like the Dead Sea Works that produce salt products for fertilizers, cooking, and the cosmetic industry account for 30 percent of the ecological damage, largely caused by evaporating water that is not being replenished.

According to Bedein, the main effort to save the Dead Sea, the “Red-Dead” canal, has received $10 billion from the World Bank for its desalination pipeline and plant that would give water to Jordan on the way to the Dead Sea. The idea, which is being discussed as part of peace agreements, is a symbol of cooperation that could be a “model case for the entire world” that suffers from water shortages.

Spain, Belgium Host Viciously Anti-semitic Parades
Three Holocaust-themed parades, two held recently in Spain and one in Belgium, mocked the World War II atrocity where 6 million Jewish people perished as it traded on anti-Semitic stereotypes. In Badajoz, Spain, for example, two people dressed like prisoners pushed a float shaped like the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The procession featured a banner decorated with a swastika inside a Star of David. Other flags bore only swastikas, while some had the German word for Jew (Jude) inside a star of David.

The carnival in Aalst, Belgium, featured grotesque caricatures of ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing large fur hats, with deformed noses and bodies shaped like insects. In other floats, Orthodox Jews were depicted as grasping boxes of diamonds.

This isn’t the first time the carnival in Aalst went to such elaborately creative lengths to mock Jews. In 2013 the Aalst parade marchers dressed as Nazi officers carrying cans of Zyklon B, the poisonous gas used in the chambers disguised as showers. To complete this disgraceful picture, a float symbolizing the trains that transported Jews to their deaths followed from behind. The parade’s unabashed anti-Semitism prompted the United Nations to bounce the town off of its UNESCO Cultural Heritage list.

Nikki Haley Blasts UN’s ‘Anti-Semitic Blacklist’
Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the UN hit “a new low” recently by publishing what she called its “anti-Semitic blacklist” designed to hurt Israel. The UN Human Rights Council listed more than 112 companies (most are Israeli) operating in Judea and Samaria. Haley hinted the list was meant to sabotage President Donald Trump who unveiled his Mideast peace plan acknowledging Israel’s right to its biblical land, including Judea and Samaria, reported Haley was UN ambassador in 2017 and 2018. Israeli officials are concerned the list will be used to justify a large-scale boycott of the country’s private sector, said.

Iran Threatens To ‘raze Tel Aviv To The Ground’
(—Iran will “raze Tel Aviv to the ground” if attacked by the United States, Iran’s Mohsen Rezaee said recently. Tehran has been looking for a pretext to attack Tel Aviv because Israel played a role in the “martyrdom” of Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Rezaee said Tehran has precise information on American activity in the region, including on all U.S. bases and aircraft carriers and even monitors U.S. soldiers when they go to hotels in Kuwait or Bahrain and knows such things as the food sources of U.S. troops in the region. Predicting a significant weakening of the United States over the next decade, he added that once Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries realize America is no longer as strong as it was, there will be a revolution in Saudi Arabia, followed by revolutions in other Gulf countries. The global collapse of the United States, he said, will begin in “West Asia.”

Popular TikTok App Videos Urge Killing Jews
The social-media app TikTok was hosting Palestinian propaganda videos celebrating violence against Israelis and Jews, reported The Algemeiner. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) discovered the Arabic-language song that went viral, uploaded 11,200 times by users who made videos to go with it “glorifying Palestinian violence” and terrorist attacks against Jews. “The killings were shown in considerable detail, certainly unsuitable for children, depicting knives being stabbed into people’s throats, people flying through the air after being struck by cars and explicit depiction of bullet wounds,” The Algemeiner said. After being alerted by PMW, TikTok removed the videos. TikTok has a massive global reach. “It was listed by CNet as the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s and the fourth-most downloaded of 2019 worldwide,” The Algemeiner said.

Magen David Adom Ships Meds To China
(—A shipment of medical supplies from Magen David Adom in Israel arrived in February at Chabad in China to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At Chabad’s request, Magen David Adom sent 2,000 face masks and 200 full-body protection kits that include special suits and masks, along with covers for shoes, hats, and glasses. Chabad, an ultra-Orthodox organization, runs centers in 12 cities in China. Rabbi Eliyahu Rosenberg, a Chabad emissary in Guangzhou northwest of Hong Kong, said the materials will be distributed to Chabad centers, Jews and Israelis in China, along with “the Chinese people who are so helpful and supportive of us.”

Many Americans Believe At Least One Anti-semitic Stereotype
( Journal)—According to a recent study by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 61 percent of Americans believe at least one out of 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes. Thirty-nine percent agreed with at least two stereotypes; and 11 percent agreed with six or more. The most prevalent stereotype was “Jews stick together more than most Americans” (44 percent), followed by “Jews like to be at the head of things” (25 percent) and “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America” (24 percent). The ADL also found 27 percent of American adults believe the Jews killed Jesus, 19 percent believe Jews discuss the Holocaust too much, and 17 percent believe Jews mainly control Hollywood. ADL Los Angeles regional director Amanda Susskind told the Jewish Journal that the fact 19 percent think Jews discuss the Holocaust too much is an issue because “as time passes from the Holocaust, more and more people are disconnected with the lessons from the Holocaust.”

Israel Oks Plan To Accept More Ethiopian Jews
(—The Israeli government has approved a plan to allow nearly 400 Ethiopian Jews from the Falash Mura sect to immigrate to Israel to reunite the Falash Mura with family members already in Israel. The Falash Mura’s ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries. But since they are officially not Jewish, they are not eligible for automatic Israeli citizenship under the country’s Law of Return. They must receive special government permission to immigrate and then undergo conversion to Judaism.

Iran Threatens To Destroy Mordecai, Esther Tomb
(—Iran recently threatened to “raid” the ancient tomb of Mordecai and Esther and turn it into “a consular office for Palestine,” according to a Twitter post by the Alliance for Rights of All Minorities in Iran (ARAM). According to ARAM, “Members of the Iranian Basij attempted to raid the historic site . . . in an act of revenge against the Israelis Palestinian peace plan [Deal of the Century] by President Trump.” Basij is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps designated as a terror organization by the United States, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Esther and Mordecai were Jewish heroes who saved their people from a massacre in the book of Esther. Their burial site has been a significant landmark for Jews and history buffs around the world, ARAM said.

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