Jewish World Update Nov/Dec 2018

“Holocaust memory and Jews are under attack [in Europe],” said Elisha Wiesel, commenting on the recent desecration of the childhood home of his late father, renowned Holocaust survivor, author, and advocate Elie Wiesel. “Anti-Semitism exists in Europe. This is not an isolated incident. What is happening to my father’s home is a small indication of what is happening on a continental level,” he told The Algemeiner.

The home, located in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei in northwestern Romania, was found vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti messages, such as “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler,” “public toilet,” and “anti-Semite pedophile.”

Elisha denounced the vandalism and “called on the Romanian government to add his father’s most famous work, his memoir Night—about his experiences in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz—as mandatory reading in the country’s national curriculum,” The Algemeiner reported. He encouraged the government to ensure his father’s home “can tell the story it needs to tell: the story of a Jewish family and community that once was, and the story of a man who wanted their voices—and the lessons of their destruction—so desperately to be heard,” he said.

The damage was “not just an attack on Elie Wiesel’s memory, but on all the victims of the Holocaust,” said Alexandru Florian, CEO of The Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania.

The home is a protected historical monument and has served as a museum about local Jewish culture since 2002, according to Haaretz. Elie Wiesel and his family lived there until the Nazis deported them in 1944 to Auschwitz, where Wiesel’s mother and younger sister died. Approximately 400,000 Jewish people were murdered in Romanian-controlled regions during the Holocaust under the nation’s fascist dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu, The Algemeiner reported.

From news reports

Leaders in Israel’s Christian and Druze communities have voiced support for Israel’s new Nationality Law, despite backlash from some in the nation’s minority communities who deem it discriminatory and offensive.

“No other [Arabic] Druze community has it better than the Druze community in Israel,” said Chairman of the Druze Zionist Council for Israel Atta Farhat. “I implore all of my brethren in the Druze community to avoid the trap set by the left and back the nation-state law as it is.”

The controversial law, which passed by a vote of 62 to 55 in late July, calls Israel “the national home of the Jewish people” and declares Jerusalem its capital; Hebrew its official language; the Jewish calendar its official calendar; and Independence Day, Jewish holidays, and Shabbat as national days of rest. But it also secures the rights of minorities to use their own languages and calendars and celebrate their own holidays, and it recognizes Arabic as a “special status” language to be used in public capacities.

The law actually cements the rights of minorities, said Chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association Shadi Haloul. “Just look at what has happened to the Maronite Christians who are being persecuted in Lebanon, as well as other minorities there,” Haloul said. “As soon as Israel stops being the state of the Jewish people, . . . we will no longer be able to enjoy the freedoms and security Israel provides us. Israel recognized our special status as Aramean Christians and thus recognized our ethnic identity.”

The new law was added to Israel’s Basic Laws, the underpinning of the national legal system. “We enshrined in law the basic principle of our existence. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, that respects the individual rights of all its citizens,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated.

The U.S. Senate has passed the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, a bipartisan piece of legislation that authorizes the United States to give security assistance to Israel for 10 years, regardless of which administration is in power.

The act, which includes a $38 billion aid package to Israel, encourages increased weapons stockpiles and U.S.-Israeli cooperative ventures on antidrone technologies, cybersecurity, and space. “The act seeks to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats, including Iran’s presence close to Israel’s northern border,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a statement.

Gaza Judge Sheikh Omar Nofal recently called for jihad against Israel, “an individual duty incumbent upon the entire nation” and one “nobody is allowed to forsake” in an interview on Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV network.

“The martyr [a Muslim who dies while trying to kill a non-Muslim] . . . is absolved with the first drop of his blood. The moment the martyr’s blood is shed, all his sins are absolved by Allah,” Nofal said. “When the rockets are raining down, our young people march toward martyrdom. . . . As soon as our enemies [Israelis] hear the sirens, . . . all of them—the police, the civil defense, and the soldiers—throw themselves to the ground or have a panic attack.”

Three days prior, Gaza Professor of Quranic Studies Abdul Samee’ al-‘Arabeed of al-Aqsa University told the TV network, “The Jews are behind every conspiracy,” and the Quran teaches Muslims “how to deal with this human garbage.”

A recent exhibition at the United Nations headquarters in New York showed ambassadors and diplomats from around the world the damage Gazan terror kites and flammable balloons have caused in Israel.

An initiative of Israeli Knesset member Haim Jelin, the exhibit contained photos of nature reserves, fields, and agricultural lands before and after being attacked by Gazans, who have burned more than 7,400 acres of land by launching flying incendiary devices into Israel.

“The destructive fire terrorism not only threatens the lives of Israeli citizens, but also destroys the entire ecological system in the south and causes irrevocable environmental damage,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

A new poll reveals more than 60 percent of Palestinians do not want the Palestinian Authority (PA) to engage in negotiations with Israel mediated by the United States, and 45.6 percent of Palestinians oppose renewing negotiations with Israel altogether.

The Jerusalem Media and Communications Center conducted the poll among 1,200 Arabs from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. More than a third of those polled said they would vote for current PA leader Mahmoud Abbas if elections were held the day of the survey, and one out of five said they would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

A new Israeli startup company, Flytrex, has developed the world’s first drone-based delivery system. “The Israel-based company works by delivering parcels to pick-up points communicated to a user via text message. Users can then receive packages through a drop-down cable from the drone while it remains in the air,” reported.

Flytrex recently joined with AHA, Iceland’s largest supplier of restaurant delivery food, to deliver takeout orders to Icelanders in the capital of Reykjavik, a city divided by a large bay, reported. “Almost half of Reykjavik will be able to receive delicacies delivered [in mere minutes] by drone right to their backyards, thanks to Flytrex,” reported.

From news reports

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Israel’s Ministry of the Economy recently formalized a partnership to use Israeli agricultural technology to help alleviate poverty among African farmers.

“This initiative is an important platform for the Ministry of Economy and Industry to give the developing world access to Israeli solutions to the challenges faced by so many,” said Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen.

Israel recently completed its first successful knee surgery using a coral-based implant invented by Israeli startup CartiHeal. Agili-C, a material derived from the exoskeletons of coral, may regenerate damaged cartilage and bone.

The surgery could be an important milestone in knee surgery, said Dr. Adi Friedman, who performed the operation. “The need for an implant that leads to the regrowth of damaged cartilage is genuinely needed in the orthopedic world, and we hope that the [clinical] trial will succeed, and that the implant will be the breakthrough that we have been waiting for for many years,” he said.


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From the Editor Nov/Dec 2018

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