News Digest — 10/28/21

On This Day: The Israeli Flag Is Formally Adopted

On this day in 1948, the State of Israel formally adopted the Israeli flag as we know it today – the nation’s official flag.

The Israeli flag with its two blue stripes and a Star of David in the middle is a variation on the flag that was used by the World Zionist Organization since 1897.

The original version had the blue stripes that were inspired by the tallit, which is used during prayer.  It also had the Star of David and the word Maccabee on it.  The idea for the design is traditionally believed to have come from David Wolffsohn who came up with the idea during a Zionist meeting with Theodor Herzl in Basel.

The flag and variations of it were used as a symbol of the Zionist movement for the years following the Basel meeting and was used by the British army’s Jewish Brigade’s Group alongside the Union Jack during World War II.

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared Independence.  On that day, the flag that had symbolized Zionism for 50 years and would later that year become the nation’s official flag was displayed on the stage on either side of a portrait of Herzl.

When the State of Israel was formed, the question was asked whether the symbol of the Zionist movement should become the official Israeli flag.  The dilemma continued to be discussed for six months and was resolved 73 years ago on October 28, 1948 when a notice was published in the Official Gazette, officially adopting the Israeli flag.  The notice specified how the flag would look with exact measurements.

The flag has since served the nation of Israel as the symbol of the Jewish nation.



Palestinian Terrorist Convicted For Brutal Murder Of Esther Horgan

The terrorist who brutally murdered mother-of-six Esther Horgan in an unprovoked attack in December 2020 was found guilty of the slaying by an Israeli military court on Wednesday (27th).

Muhammad Kabha pounced on French-born Horgan as she walked in the Reihan Forest near Tel Menashe in Samaria, overpowering her and repeatedly beating her in the head with rocks until she died, the court found.

But the family of the victim said the guilty verdict doesn’t go far enough to stop terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinians against Jews.

“We regret that the killer’s backers aren’t sitting next to him in the defendant’s dock,” Horgan’s family told the news media.  “We are referring to the Palestinian Authority and its leader, who encourages terrorism through blood libels and educates the public to hate and kill, and pays huge sums of money to terrorists and their families after the fact.”  

“The prosecution of individual PA leaders for sending and paying mercenaries to murder Jews would perhaps create a more meaningful deterrent and prevent, or at least reduce the chances of the next murder,” the family added.

Attorney Maurice Hirsch, who represented Horgan’s family, echoed their sentiments in a statement.

“The vile terrorist who murdered Esther did not act in a vacuum.  The incitement by the Palestinian Authority and the rewards it pays to each terrorist have made a significant and serious contribution to the horrific murder.” he said.

The Shin Bet reported that Kabha’s motivation for the slaying was to avenge the recent death of his friend, who had died of cancer in an Israeli prison six weeks before the murder.

According to the investigation, Kabha had laid in wait in the forest for hours, before spotting and selecting Horgan as his victim.

Kabha had previously been convicted of terror offenses and has spent time in Israeli prisons.



Israel Ignores US Rebuke, Approves Over 3,000 Homes In Judea, Samaria

Israel approved more than 3,000 new homes for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria on Wednesday (27th), a day after the United States issued its strongest rebuke yet of such construction.

It was the biggest announcement of settlement plans during the Biden administration.

The plans were approved by a Defense Ministry committee, according to a security official who was not authorized to speak publicly and did not provide further details.  The anti-settlement group Peace Now also confirmed the approvals.

“Now everybody knows that this is not a government of change, but this is a government with the same policy as [former prime minister] Netanyahu to build more settlements, to deepen the occupation and to take us away from the chances for peace,” said Hagit Ofran of Peace Now.

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to take a “decisive stance’ on the Israeli decision, which he said amounted to a “message of disdain” for the efforts of the US administration.  

Only a day earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had protested the plan during a phone call with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, according to a senior US official who did not speak publicly.

Another recent sign of friction between Jerusalem and Washington was the State Department’s objection to Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s announcement that he was listing six Palestinian NGO’s as terrorist groups.



Confirmed: US Needs Israel’s Consent To Reopen Jerusalem Consulate

US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian Patrick McKeon has confirmed that the US needs Israel’s approval in order to reopen Jerusalem’s diplomatic mission for Palestinian Authority Arabs.

In a tweet, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) wrote: “Important question from Senator Hagerty: Does Israel have to agree before the US could open or reopen a consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem?”

“‘That’s my understanding—that we’d need to get the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility.’ -DepSec McKeon,” AIPAC tweeted.

Marc Zell, Chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, told Arutz Sheva, “The Americans do not want to divide Jerusalem, but rather to give it to our Palestinian enemies.  I am very worried that the US administration wants to turn the wheel back.  I hope we will be able to send a message that our nation is united against this process.”

Haim Silberstein, Chairman of the Keep Jerusalem organization, said: “Opening another consulate in Jerusalem will not help with anything, but it will harm Israeli sovereignty, distance peace and encourage the Arabs not to agree to any compromise, because the US is backing them.”

Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, said, “We have been warning for a decade already that the Palestinians are creating a de facto state disconnected from the State of Israel.  Wherever they open a consulate will be the capital of a Palestinian state.  It would be very worthwhile for the State of Israel to wake up and put a stop to this.”



Survey: A Third Of US Jewish College Students Experience Anti-Semitism

A new national survey conducted for Hillel International and the Anti-Defamation League revealed information about the number of Jewish college students across the United States who personally experienced anti-Semitism on campus during the last academic year.

According to the survey, released on Tuesday (26th), 32% of Jewish students were targeted in anti-Semitic incidents, which most commonly were offensive comments online or in-person, and damage or defacement of property.  A total of 79% said it happened to them more than once.

Additionally, 31% of Jewish students witnessed anti-Semitic activity on campus that was not directed at them.  Many respondents said they saw swastikas drawn on campus, in addition to the vandalism of Jewish fraternities, sororities, and cultural buildings.

Among students who experienced anti-Semitism firsthand, 51% said they felt safe on campus.  Some 37% said they reported anti-Semitic property damage, defacement, and vandalism, while reporting was higher for physical violence and threats of violent attacks.

In addition, 24% reported anti-Semitic slurs and comments online and 23% reported incidents that took place in person.

A smaller sampling, 15% of Jewish college students, also said they felt the need to hide their Jewish identity from others on campus, and just 12% said they were blamed for the actions of the Israeli government because of their Jewish faith.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.  It was conducted by College Pulse, an online survey and analytics company that focuses on college students, from July 7 to Aug. 21.  It included 756 undergraduate students who identify as Jewish and are currently enrolled in 270 different four-year colleges and universities across America.