News Digest — 11/28/23

Released Palestinian Prisoner Calls For Hamas To Fight Israel

A Palestinian prisoner who was released by Israel over the weekend as part of the Israel-Hamas hostage transfer deal was caught on video chanting in support of Hamas and their violence against Israelis.

The freed Palestinian chanted in support of Hamas among a crowd of dozens.  “We are the swords of (Al-Qassam Brigades’ head) Mohamed Deif,” the freed prisoner, Roda Musa Abdelkader Abu Agamiya, exclaimed.

Deif is the mysterious Hamas military leader who has survived numerous IDF assassination attempts.  Not much is known about Deif, who only has two known photographs taken of him – the last of which was shot in the year 2000.

All of the 150 Palestinian prisoners slated to be freed have all been convicted of charges with violent crimes, many terrorist-related.

Agamiya, 46, was released after six months in Israeli prison on charges of working with a hostile organization, illegal stay, violation of a legal provision, state security, and violation of the Law of Entry into Israel.

Religious Zionist Party MK Zvi Sukkot filed a police complaint after seeing the video, saying, “I filed a complaint with the police again against Roda Abu Agamiya, one of the prisoners released as part of the kidnapping deal, following the inciting words she uttered after her release. 



Release After Three Weeks?  Terror Supporter Ahed Tamimi On List Of Prisoners To Be Released

The Israeli government on Monday night (27th) approved the inclusion of 50 female prisoners in the list of those eligible for release in the event that a release of additional Israeli hostages is carried out.

Following the decision, the Ministry of Justice published on its website the names of 50 additional security prisoners held in the custody of the Israel Prison Service, who may be released in Phase 2 of the plan for the release of Israeli hostages.

The newly published list includes, among others, terrorist supporter and instigator Ahed Tamimi, who is considered one of the symbols of the Palestinian Arab fight against Israeli policy due to her actions against IDF soldiers.

In March 2018, Tamimi was convicted of four counts of assaulting an IDF officer and soldier, incitement and interfering with IDF forces, after she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier during a protest of leftists and Palestinian Arabs in her town of Nabi Saleh.  She was sentenced to eight months imprisonment in practice and fined 5,000 shekels as part of a plea bargain.

Just three weeks ago, she was arrested once again over serious online incitement against the IDF and over her calls for the murder of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

In a post on her Instagram account a week earlier, Tamimi wrote,”Our message to the settlers – we are waiting for you in all the cities of the West Bank, from Hebron to Jenin.  We will slaughter you and you will say that what Hitler did to you was a joke.  We will drink your blood and eat your skulls, come on, we’re waiting for you.”



German President Steinmeier Visits Kibbutz Be’eri With Israeli President  Herzog

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday (27th) visited Kibbutz Be’eri together with President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Kibbutz Be’eri saw many of its members murdered and kidnapped, and many buildings destroyed, in the massive attack by Hamas on October 7. 

The two presidents met with residents of the kibbutz, survivors of the massacre, and toured some of the ruins of houses, buildings and businesses destroyed in the attack.

In their statements following the tour, President Steinmeier announced that the German Parliament had allocated 7 million Euros to rebuild the Kibbutz Be’eri art gallery, which was utterly destroyed in the attack.

Speaking in front of the ruins of the gallery, President Herzog said: “Mr. President, thank you very much for coming.  You, my dear friend Frank, and Elke, are dear friends of Michal and mine, and of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

“We’re extremely grateful for your moral clarity, for your strong stance with the people of Israel, with the people of this region, with the people of Be’eri –  as you came here to see the horrors that  befell our nation on October 7 and following that.”

“There’s nothing more symbolic than the gallery in Be’eri, because amidst the enormous challenges in the region, the people of Be’eri decided that there will be a gallery, an art gallery that will distribute light, spirit, emotions, love, and affection – with Israeli artists from all over Israel.  They have shown 400 exhibits for over 37 years.”

“We have a dream Mr. President, to rebuild this place as part of rebuilding the entire Kibbutz Be’eri and the entire region.  And we will rebuild, and we will go back, and we will wake up as a nation as a lion, to go back and regain and rebuild these places, so that they will flourish, and send a message of hope and peace to the entire world.”

President Steinmeier said, “I’m proud and let me express my gratitude that we were invited by the President and his wife to Israel, and we are moved that he brought us here to Be’eri.”

“In Germany we were able to listen to the news on October 7.  We were watching the TV, we saw the pictures – and it was easy to imagine what had happened here.  But to be here, right in this place, is different.  You know the ruins behind us, they are the silent witness of what had happened here.  And it’s not easy to find the words to describe what we heard from those who have the knowledge and who were witnessing the deeds, the murders, the killings, the rapes by Hamas here on October 7.”

“We are here in the kibbutz and the Kibbutz movement is in a certain way linked to Europe and especially to Germany.  This kibbutz in Be’eri was founded by Jews from Germany, from Hungary, and from the former Czechoslovakia – and so therefore, the kibbutzim are part of the history and the soul of Israel.” 

Steinmeier continued, “I’m very grateful that the State Secretary of our Ministry for Construction is with us and that the Ministry is cooperating with their counterparts here in Israel.  I’m grateful with regard to the German Parliament which has announced in the next year to give us 7 million Euros for the rebuilding of the art gallery and the convening center and in addition to that, I hope that we create conditions that young people, craftsman from Germany and from Israel can meet here to cooperate very closely in the rebuilding process.”

“I hope that even in these days of mourning, when we are thinking about the hostages, that we will also think about the future when people of Be’eri will be coming back, and this place will again be a vivid place for Israelis here in the south of Israel,” he concluded.



The UN’s Treatment Of Israel Is Shameful – Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

The United Nations is suffering from acute moral failure and can’t fulfill its core mission.  Israel joined the UN in 1949.  Universal humanitarian values, civil liberties, the rule of law and political accountability have always been the foundations of Israeli society. We adhere fully to the UN Charter.

Yet, since Oct.7, Israel has been fighting a war for survival against an enemy whose goal is total annihilation.  We are the only democracy in a region dominated by violent authoritarian regimes.  Israel’s enemies are deliberately violating all principles of the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and basic human decency.

The atrocities Hamas committed on Oct.7 were appalling crimes against humanity.   You would think such flagrant acts of evil would elicit the strongest of condemnations.  Yet the UN, its agencies, and its secretary general fail even to address the crimes of Hamas and other Iranian terror proxies.

The UN’s betrayal of its own mandate is not new for Israel, which has been the object of double standards for decades.  The world’s most violent anti-Western forces exploit the UN and promote an agenda radically opposed to its charter and stated goals.  Israel is today at the forefront of the struggle against those forces aimed at the destruction of the free world.  (Wall Street Journal)



Multiple U.S. Synagogues Hit With Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Graffiti 7 Weeks Into The Israel-Hamas War

Over the course of a week, three synagogues across the United States were tagged with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic graffiti.

The vandalism follows weeks of similar defacement at a variety of American Jewish sites, including cemeteries, Chabad Jewish centers, and Jewish buildings on university campuses.  The incidents occurred more than a month into the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which has come alongside a reported spike in anti-Semitism nationwide.

The recent vandalism targeted synagogues affiliated with three different religious denominations.  In Washington state, the FBI is investigating anti-Israel vandalism on Nov.22 at Herzl-Ner Tamid, a Conservative synagogue in the Seattle suburb of Mercer Island.  About 20%of the island’s households identify as Jewish, the Seattle Times reported.

The graffiti, which was spray-painted in red and black in several places across the exterior of the synagogue, included phrases such as “Stop the killing,” and  “Shame on Israel.”  The incident follows an FBI investigation into the delivery of suspicious packages to at least five Jewish institutions in the Seattle area.  Four of the five envelopes contained white powder, and all five have been determined to be non-hazardous, according to the Times.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, B’nai David-Judea Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles, was also the site of anti-Israel graffiti reading, “Israel bombs, we pay,” according to a post by Forward reporter Louis Keene on X.

And on November 21 at Romemu, a Jewish Renewal congregation on New York’s Upper West Side, a vandal left anti-Semitic and white supremacist symbols on the door last Tuesday (21st), including a swastika, a hammer and sickle, a Star of David, and multiple Ks, presumably a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, among other symbols.

The graffiti has already been removed, and in an email sent to community members on Wednesday (22nd), Romemu executive director Jeffrey Cahn and Rabbi David Ingber said the incident had already been reported to the NYPD’s hate crimes unit, UJA-Federation’s Community Service Initiative and the ADL.

“These symbols of hate will not deter us from our mission of love, acceptance, and understanding,” Cahn and Ingber wrote in an earlier email on Tuesday (21st), alerting the community of the incident.  “We are resolute in our commitment to building a world where prejudice has no place, and where the power of compassion and unity prevails.”

This week has seen more vandalism of a Jewish sacred space.  On Monday afternoon (27th), a Boston man was charged  with multiple counts of destruction of property, destruction of a place of worship, and defacing a burial site for vandalizing the New England Holocaust Memorial in that city as well as the graves of Paul Revere and 19 others.

The acts of vandalism come amid what law enforcement and Jewish security agencies say is a rise in anti-Jewish activity.  The anti-Defamation League reported a 388% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States between Oct. 7 and Oct. 23 compared with the previous year.  Between those dates, 190 out of 312 recorded anti-Semitic incidents were “directly linked to the war in Israel and Gaza.” the ADL’s Center on Extremism reported.



My Jewish Parents Were Right About Anti-Semitism – Emma Teitel

This is not a column about the Israel-Hamas war.  It is a column about a painful reverberation of that war a world away.  Since it began, I know of four people in the Toronto area who say the mezuzahs on their doors were ripped down.

A letter signed by 2,000 parents warns of “escalating incidents of anti-Semitism” at Toronto public schools since the outbreak of the war.  The incidents described include:”children performing Nazi salutes, drawing swastikas on bus windows, vandalizing bathrooms with anti-Semitic graffiti, Jewish stars being put on the desks of Jewish students to identify them…physical violence, references to gas chambers, Hitler and being sent back to concentration camps.”  I could go on, but I will run out of room.

What we are seeing in Canada is not merely a dramatic rise of anti-Semitism at all levels of society, it is a horrifying revelation for many Jews my age that our parents were right.  This stuff just doesn’t go away with the passage of time.  It is always there under the surface.  Blaming ordinary Jewish people in Canada for the military actions of a foreign government is anti-Semitic.  Anti-Semtism isn’t a problem for Jews alone, though we bear the brunt of its violence.  It is a conspiracy theory that eats away at truth and democracy.  It is a sign of decay.  (TorontoStar – Canada)