February 6, 2019

Austria Shares Responsibility For The Holocaust, Visiting President Says

Visiting Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen told his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, on Monday (4th) that his nation shares responsibility for the Holocaust and is striving to ensure that Jews everywhere can live in safety.

“Austria bears shared responsibility for the Holocaust.  Many Austrian citizens took part, and we bow our heads in memory of the victims in humility and respect,” Van der Bellen said during a welcoming ceremony at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.  “We admitted our shared responsibility too late and that caused problems in our relations at the beginning.”

“Our aim is to ensure that Jews everywhere feel safe.  It is our responsibility as Austrians to the victims of the Holocaust to ensure that we live in peace and agreement with Israel,” he added, according to a readout released by Rivlin’s office.

At the ceremony, Rivlin thanked the Austrian president for being a “true friend of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people.”  The president also told Van der Bellen that Israel views the Iranian regime as an “enemy that wishes to destroy Israel,” and that its Lebanese proxy, Hizbullah, must be stopped in the region.”

The two leaders later visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, where Van der Bellen laid a wreath at a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.

Van der Bellen visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday (3rd) after arriving in Israel.



Hizbullah Supporters Bike Along Israeli Border In Protest Of IDF

On Sunday, (3rd) upwards of 60 Hizbullah supporters rode motorbikes used in military operations along the Lebanon border with Israel to protest against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Lebanese media reported.

According to Lebanon’s The Daily Star, the group of men rode from the town of Bint Jbeil across from the Israeli community of Yiron on “cross motorbikes which the party has used before for military resistance operations.”

“We’re ready if you wants us,” one of the riders said.  “If you want us on motorbikes, then we are at your service” he added, aiming to show loyalty to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

The slogan for the ride was “To Jerusalem on millions of cross bikes.”

The Shiite terrorist group, Hizbullah last fought a war against Israel in 2006, and has since then morphed from a guerilla group to an army with a set hierarchy and procedures.

With the help of Iran, Hizbullah has rebuilt its arsenal since 2006 and has hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach deeper into Israel.  It is believed that in a next war, the terrorist group will aim to fire some 1,500-2,000 rockets per day.

In addition to their massive arsenal, Hizbullah also has the ability to mobilize close to 30,000 battle-hardened fighters who were planning to infiltrate through tunnels into Israel to kill or kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Israel destroyed those tunnels in December in Operation Northern Shield, however the IDF is currently monitoring several locations where Hizbullah is digging underground structures that have yet to cross into Israel.



BDS Groups Slammed For Terror Ties Active On US Campuses

Palestinian rights and boycott groups, which Israel accused on Sunday (3rd) of having direct links to terror organizations and convicted terrorists, have been operating freely on US college campuses and have been influencing American students since at least 2016.

A report by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs published on Sunday (3rd), entitled “Terrorists in Suits” and dealing with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, alleges that numerous self-proclaimed rights groups have long-standing ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, both US-designated terror organizations.

These ties have received little or no scrutiny from US authorities or the educational system, enabling groups mentioned in the report, such as Samidoun and Addameer, to operate unchecked on US college campuses.

Both Samidoun and Addameer have hosted pro-Palestinian events at various US colleges, including New York University, John Jay College in Manhattan, UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, Barnard College in New York and more.

Samidoun, known as Samidoun-Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network welcomes prisoner advocacy leaders from “Palestine” on campuses.

Addameer was founded by members of the PFLP, many of whom were convicted of terrorist activity – whose mission it is to advocate for Palestinian prisoners and hold events at US colleges.

The evidence presented in the report raises the question of whether designated terror organizations are gaining a strong foothold inside colleges by using movements campaigning under the banner of human rights as a tool to promote their own agenda.

In recent years, Jewish groups have voiced concerns over what they say is growing and prevailing anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses.  The recent findings shed light on the possible sources of the increasing anti-Israel position among students.



Egypt To Increase Trade With Gaza

The Egyptian authorities have pledged to increase commercial trade with Gaza and keep Rafah crossing open regardless of an absence of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas sources said Monday ((4th).

The sources said that Egypt would develop the work of Rafah crossing on both the Egyptian and Gazan side, pledging to increase trade to fulfil the economic needs of the Gaza Strip.

In addition the sources said that the understandings between Hamas and Egypt – which were reached during meetings in the Strip Sunday (3rd) – have been supported by the UN, which asked Egypt to increase the number of truckloads entering Gaza.

However, the Egyptians also stressed that Hamas must maintain calm in the Strip and slow the March of Return, including preventing the burning of tires and the cutting of the Israeli border fence.

The UN also pledged to start temporary jobs programs to benefit thousands of unemployed Gazans before the end of the month, in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Labour in Gaza and international NGOs.

The UN also reiterated that the Qatari funds donated to poor families in Gaza would continue to enter the Strip every month, with promises to increase the number of beneficiaries.



In Canada, Strangers Brave Sub-Zero Temperatures For Holocaust Survivor Funeral

150 people turned out in temperatures below zero for the funeral of a Holocaust survivor who was slated to be buried with only his brother in attendance in Canada last week.

Rabbi Zale Newman put out a call on Facebook when he heard Eddie Ford, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor originally from Budapest who lived in Toronto, was to be buried without a minyan (Jewish prayer quorum).

Two days before Eddie died, Newman met with him and promised him a proper Jewish burial.  After he received the news that Ford had passed away, he posted the funeral details on Facebook but held little hope that people would show up as he received few social media responses and Canada was going through a severe cold spell.

But unbeknownst to him, many turned up at the cemetery to bury a man they had never met.

The rabbi said when he arrived at the cemetery, he couldn’t get in because of a traffic jam and thought the traffic was from another funeral.  He wondered how he could find Eddie Ford’s grave site. He said when he arrived at the site, there were over 150 people there.

Rabbi Newman said, “It was cold and windy and I cried to think how sad and amazing it was to be part of the Jewish people, who at short notice left everything and stood in an open field of freezing wind, to accompany a Jew from Budapest on his final journey.

Filmmaker Ronen Israelski documented the events for Canada’s CBC News.  He said when he saw Eddie Ford’s story on Facebook he realized the gravity of the situation and decided to attend.  

“This lonely survivor received a hug from the Jewish community of Toronto and from our Jewish heart.  I know something about the Holocaust because my father is a Holocaust survivor, and I could not bear the thought that this person would be buried alone,” Israelski said.