News Digest — 10/1/20

Feast Of Tabernacles Celebrations Move Online Due To Coronavirus

The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) will be holding a “Feast of Tabernacles” celebration online this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, considering the traditional gathering of Christians in Jerusalem is off the table due to coronavirus restrictions.

The ICEJ will also be celebrating its 40th anniversary at the event.  This will be the first time in four decades that the organization was unable to hold the feast in Israel.

“We were expecting a record-crowd for this year’s special anniversary Feast of Tabernacles celebration in the largest hall in Jerusalem.  But for the first time in 40 years as a ministry, we cannot hold our large Sukkot gathering in the city,” said ICEJ president Dr. Jurgen Buhler.  “So we have moved the event online and our Global Feast package will now feature more content, with more international speakers and worship artists, and more seminars and lectures than we have ever offered before.”

In a normal year, the annual celebration hosts around 5,000 Christians from 100 different countries.  Considering the restrictions on travel, the recent closure and isolation orders upon entering the country, it was not feasible to hold the celebration in Israel this year.

The feast will hold seven daily live broadcasts, streamed from locations around Israel, to be aired on Christian television networks across the globe.  There will also be an online conferencing platform hosting 125 seminars and virtual tours.

“For the past 40 years, we have seen first-hand God’s faithfulness in restoring Israel, and expanding our ministry around the world,” Buhler said.  “The relationship between Christians and Israel has radically changed compared to when we were founded in September 1980, and we are humbled and thankful to be part of this historic reconciliation.”

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) begins at sundown Friday, October 2nd  and ends at sundown on October 9th.



60 New Immigrants From Argentina Land In Israel Amid Coronavirus

Sixty new immigrants from Argentina landed in Israel on Wednesday (9/30), with the assistance of the Jewish Agency and accompanied by the Agency’s emissary to Argentina, who returned to Israel with them.

The immigrants were very excited to enter the gates of the country and were greeted at Ben Gurion Airport with the traditional “We Bring Peace Upon You,” song.

Just before landing, the immigrants wrote: “Here, from an Air France plane, we share with you that in a few moments we will land in our beloved Land of Israel.”

“The truth is, there was almost no need for a pilot or navigator on this flight, we just flew from the intensity of excitement, enthusiasm and joy.  We are 60 new immigrants from Argentina,” they added.

“We chose to come here and celebrate, thank G-d, Sukkot even under isolation,” they said.  “And of course all the holidays from now on.  Thank you very much to all the citizens of the State of Israel for receiving us with such love.”

Following the closure in the State of Israel, there was no one to wait for the immigrants at Ben Gurion Airport and receive them, but David Said, the agency’s envoy who accompanied them, tried his best to make up for the lack.



Israel Delivers First Iron Dome Battery For US Army

A year after the Defense Ministry and the US Army signed a deal for two Iron Dome missile defense batteries, the first battery was delivered Wednesday (9/30).

The delivery is part of the implementation of the agreement between the US and Israel for supplying the sophisticated weapon system, whose development has been funded in part by the US.  The Iron Dome has been a major boost to Israel’s security in various flare-ups in the Gaza Strip by intercepting many missiles fired toward Israeli civilian population centers.

The agreement was signed in 2019 with the current delivery carried out with unprecedented speed.  A second battery is expected to be delivered within several weeks.  Both are to be used for US force protection against a variety of projectiles.

The purchase was made to fill the army’s short-term needs for an indirect fire protection capability until a permanent solution to the problem is put in place to best protect ground maneuvering troops against an increasingly wide range of aerial threats, including short-range projectiles.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz praised Iron Dome, which is part of Israel’s multilayered missile defense system, which also includes the David’s Sling, and Arrow-2, and Arrow-3 weapons systems.  He said “Iron Dome has a significant impact on the battlefield” and reflects the “strength” of Israel’s defense establishment, with some 2,400 successful interceptions since 2011.

“I am proud that this advanced system will also protect US troops.  This is an extraordinary achievement for both the Ministry of Defense and for Israel’s excellent defense industries.”



Neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement Targets Jews On Yom Kippur

This year, the modern-day successors of the Nazis, known as The Nordic Resistance Movement, have mounted a vile and vicious campaign of hate against Jews in Northern Europe.

The Neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement targeted Jews in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland with anti-Semitic campaigns throughout the week leading up to Yom Kippur – the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar.

Websites belonging to the neo-Nazi movement reported actions taken by the group in almost 20 different cities.  In pictures allegedly taken by members, the neo-Nazi group can be seen confronting Jewish worshipers while standing in front of synagogues, placing anti-Semitic posters in public areas and distributing hate-flyers.

The movement wrote that it was choosing Yom Kippur to “make the Nordic people aware of foreign customs, including kosher slaughter, circumcision and the custom of kaparot … and the Zionist plans to rule the entire Nordic region.”

The group also claimed that Jews obtain “proactive forgiveness for all the lies and injustices that they will commit until the next Yom Kippur,” an anti-Semitic trope which has existed since the Middle Ages.

The Supreme Court of Finland issued a cease-and-desist order to the Nordic Resistance Movement last week, marking the first such order issued since the 1970s, according to the Helsinki Times.

The court determined that the objectives of the organization were in violation of the foundations of a democratic society.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder condemned the coordinated campaign against Jews in the affected countries saying, “This Yom Kippur marks the second year in a row that anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head in Europe.  Last year, we saw a murderous anti-Semitic attack targeting the synagogue in Halle, Germany, and this year, the modern-day successors of the Nazis of the 1930s and 1940s, known as the Nordic Resistance Movement, have mounted a vile and vicious campaign of hate against Jews in Northern Europe.”

“The Nordic Resistance Movement represents a violent, racist, anti-Semitic ideology, and should be outlawed.  Perpetrators of this type of incitement against Jews, horrifically disseminated on the most solemn day of the Jewish year, must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” added Lauder.

The WJC president called on all Nordic governments to “follow Finland’s example” and ban the movement.



Columbia University Students Back Israel Boycott In Referendum

Students at Columbia University in New York on Tuesday (9/29) voted in favor of the BDS movement that calls to boycott Israel, during the educational facility’s first-ever referendum on the issue.

The move came after a long campaign by pro-Palestinian groups on campus to call a student referendum for the university to adopt the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement policies.

The campus-wide vote saw about 61% of the respondents voting in favor of the institution to divest “its stocks, funds and financial endowment” from companies linked to Israel since the country’s actions “fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.”

About 27% of the students voted against the motion and about 11% abstained, with the turnout in the referendum standing at just below 40%, the Jewish Insider reports.

The group behind the referendum – Columbia University Apartheid Divest – welcomed the outcome.  A pro-Israel advocacy on campus, meanwhile, warned that “Jewish students are three to eight times more likely to be victims of anti-Jewish hostility after BDS resolutions pass.

Responding to the referendum, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said in a statement that the vote is unlikely to have any effect on the university’s investments.

“At Columbia, questions about possible divestment of endowment funds are not decided by referendum but through a process involving the University’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing,” he said.

“It is unfair and inaccurate to single out this specific dispute for this purpose when there are so many other, comparably deeply-entrenched conflicts around the world,” the statement added.