News Digest — 11/11/19

Nikki Haley Receives Prestigious Zionist Award: ‘Most Courageous Woman In America Today’

Nikki Haley said that she depended on her “core values” to defend Israel in the UN when she was presented with the Theodor Herzl Award Wednesday (6th) for her unwavering support of the Jewish state in the world body during her tenure as U.S. Ambassador.

Accusing the Security Council of following years of “unquestioned, outdated customs” like “a monthly Israel-bashing session,” she told the appreciative audience that her strength to counter it came from “not being afraid to rely on your core values.”  For Haley this includes “standing up for your friends.”

It was not a matter of favoritism, she said.  “In all that we did at the UN, our approach to Israel was tied together by one major idea.  The idea is the simple concept that Israel must be treated like any other normal country. And that demand is actually a demand for peace.”

She quickly learned that this was not what the UN was about, however.

“The UN’s bias against Israel has long undermined peace, by encouraging an illusion that Israel will go away.  Israel is not going away. When the world recognizes that, then peace becomes possible,” Haley said.

The ambassador, who served for two years in the UN (2017-2018) and whose name has been floated as a future presidential contender, also touched on the rise of global anti-Semitism in her acceptance speech.

“It is baffling to me that anti-Semitism is not treated with the same disdain as racism or other forms of hate.  It is exactly the same. It must never be tolerated. It must never be excused. It must never be rationalized,” she said.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) gives the award, its highest, to those individuals who work to promote Herzl’s ideas for a safer, more tolerant world for the Jewish people.

In presenting Haley with the statuette, WJC President Ronald Lauder called the ambassador “perhaps the most courageous woman in America today” as one who was “a strong and clear voice of truth” in the UN.   



Jordan’s King Declares ‘Full Sovereignty’ Over Leased Israeli Farmland; Reports Conflict As To Farmers’ Future

Jordan’s King Abdullah announced on Sunday (10th) that he has taken full sovereignty over land previously leased to Israel.

The Jordanian king was referring to Naharayim and Tzofar, two areas of land adjacent to Jordan that had been leased to Israel for 25 years following the signing of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace Treaty.

At 4:30 pm on Saturday (9th) the gate to the area was closed, and control was returned to Jordan.

According to a report by Channel 13 News, Israel’s request for a six-month extension was denied by the Jordanian government.

However, Haaretz reported on Sunday (10th) that the lease agreement has been extended until April under a new set of undisclosed restrictions.

According to the report, the area is now a closed military zone that permits entry only to farmers who currently attend the land, provided that they hold a valid passport.

The IDF is still providing security support to the local farmers.

“In continuation of the deliberation on the diplomatic arrangements in the Tzofar enclave, security forces are protecting the area and working together with the community,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The farmers’ work at the enclave is continuing subject to agreements and coordination,” the statement added.

Last year, Jordan’s king announced that the lease would not be renewed.

“Our decision is to terminate the Baquoura (Naharayim) and Ghamar (Tzofar), annexes from the peace treaty, out of our keenness to make all decisions that will serve Jordan and Jordanians,” King Abdullah said at the time.

After King Abdullah made his announcement, many political pundits felt that Israel would have strong leverage to negotiate a new deal, because the Jewish state supplies tens of millions of cubic meters of water to Jordan each year, and also because Israel allows Jordan to use its airspace.



Trump To Address Upcoming IAC Conference

US President Donald Trump will speak at the Israeli-American Council’s annual conference scheduled to take place on Dec. 7 in Hollywood, Florida.

This will be the American president’s first speech before an apolitical organization since he was elected into office in 2016.

The Israeli-American Council is a California-based nonprofit organization that represents and serves more than 250,000 Israeli-Americans across the United States.

Its mission is to preserve and strengthen the Israeli and Jewish identities of future generations, strengthen the American Jewish community and strengthen the relationship between the American public and Israel.

Active in over 73 communities and 100 college campuses in the US, the IAC is considered the fastest-growing Jewish organization in the world.

The annual conference will begin on Dec.5 and continue through to Dec. 8.  More than 3,500 people across the US and Israel are expected to attend, including elected officials, senior academics and media outlets, as well as leaders from the Jewish and Israeli-American community.

This year the conference will be held under the banner of “Israel Together.” The theme aims to send an unreserved message of support with respect to the connection between the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

IAC Chief Executive Officer Shoham Nicolet said, “For an organization as young as ours, it is a great honor to host US President Donald Trump, for whom it will be the first time he speaks before an apolitical Jewish organization.”

“This is important not only for the IAC but for the entire pro-Israel community in the United States that believes in strong ties between the countries.”



Israel’s Trump Heights Gets Its First Inhabitants

A Boarding school for underprivileged youths in Israel was inaugurated in Trump Heights in the Golan on Thursday (7th).

The opening last week of the boarding school, which is designed to prepare several hundred teenagers from troubled homes for a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces, marks the first arrival of people to the community that was declared as established there in June and named after US President Donald Trump.

The United States recognized the Golan Heights, which Israel gained from Syria in the 1967 War, as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by Trump on March 25.  The Israeli government decided to name a town for him in the Golan as a sign of appreciation and gratitude for his move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

About 20 families are scheduled to move to Trump Heights in the summer of 2020, the national-religious news site Srugim reported, including both observant Jewish families and secular new residents.

The boarding school headed by Uriel Eldad will belong to the network of Mechinat Shachar, an institution that specializes in preparing high school graduates for excelling in the army.

At the Trump Heights boarding house, or “mechinah,” secular and observant Jewish youths will live for six months prior to their enlistment, Uriel told Srugim.

Trump Heights, which was announced when it was still uninhabited and largely unbuilt, is the second Israeli town named after an American president, with the first one being, Kfar Truman, a moshav in central Israel.



80 Gravestones Vandalized At Denmark Jewish Cemetery

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Vandals desecrated more than 80 graves at a Jewish cemetery in the western Danish town of Randers, police said Sunday (10th).

“More than 80 gravestones were daubed with green graffiti and some were overturned” at the Ostre Kirkegard Cemetery, a statement read.

“There are no symbols or words written on the gravestones, but they have been painted green,” the Ritzau News Agency quoted police spokesman Bo Christensen as saying.

Police said a complaint had been made Saturday (9th) but they did not know when the vandalism had occurred.

The Randers burial ground dates back to the early 19th century when the town’s 200-strong Jewish community was Denmark’s largest outside the capital Copenhagen, which is today home to most of the country’s 6,000 Jews.

Copenhagen’s Great Synagogue was targeted in a 2015 shooting which saw one security officer killed after an earlier attack on a freedom conference of expression that left one person dead.  Five policemen were injured in the twin attacks, which saw police gun down 22-year-old perpetrator Omar El-Hussein, a Danish citizen of Palestinian origin.