News Digest — 11/30/21

UN Holds Solidarity Event With Palestinians On Anniversary Of Recognizing Israeli Statehood

On the 74th anniversary of the United Nations decision to recognize the Jewish people’s right to statehood and the Partition Plan November 29, the UN held only a solidarity event with Palestinians while ignoring the founding of Israel and the history of massacres and expulsions of 850,000 Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

The pro-Palestinian conference on “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was held in the United Nations General Assembly on Monday (29th).  The conference, intended to strengthen support for the Palestinians ‘right of return,’ and was attended by the president of the GA, the President of the Security Council Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez of Mexico, the Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the UN, and representatives of Palestinian civil society.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress, held a protest in response to the conference and attacked the UN’s “blatant disregard of the massacres and expulsions of the Jews from Arab countries and Iran.”

As part of the campaign, trucks bearing signs arrived at the UN headquarters and showed those entering the building pictures of Jewish refugees who were expelled from their homes in Arab countries and Iran, along with a demand to stop erasing Jewish history.

On November 29, 1947, the UN recognized the Jewish people’s right to a state.  The Jews accepted the Partition Plan and the Arab countries rejected it and attacked Israel.  At the same time, they persecuted, massacred, and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries.

“Shockingly, this atrocity is completely ignored by the UN, instead, the UN has the audacity to hold a solidarity event for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the Palestinians own decision to choose violence,” Erdan said at the protest.  “And on the day that the Palestinians chose violence, the UN also dares to advance the outrageous, false ‘demand of return,’ a demand that would lead to the total obliteration of the Jewish state.”

“By advancing and amplifying on the one side the false and dangerous narrative of the Palestinians and by silencing the true stories, the tragic stories of the Jewish refugees who were expelled from the Arab countries and Iran, the UN is erasing Jewish history and distorting the truth and we will never allow this to happen,” he stated.

“We are here today to tell the UN and the international community that our story will never be silenced and our history never erased,” the Israeli envoy declared.

Meanwhile, the trucks with the signs traveled to major sites in New York City throughout the day and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.



Hanukkah Candles Lit At Western Wall In Memory Of Eli Kay

The lighting of the second Hanukkah candle at the Western Wall Monday night (30th) was dedicated to the memory of Eliyahu Kay, the man who was killed in a terrorist attack in the Old City last week.  Kay’s family participated in the ceremony.

The event was also attended by MK Miri Regev, Director General of the Religious Affairs Ministry Shimon Matuk, President of Yeshiva University in New York Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places Shmuel Rabinovich said: “We live in a generation of great miracles – but also the generation of the birth-pangs of the Messiah, a generation of struggles and great difficulty.  It is not easy to understand the magnitude of the hour – the magnitude of our privilege to live in this generation.”

“Our soul compels us to look at the here and now, and to see the little things.  And Eli, may God avenge his blood, understood the greatness of these days, of life in the Land of Israel, of working in the Holy land, and of life in Jerusalem,” he added.  “Eli taught us all to look at the big picture.  We brought here today the great light of Eli, may God avenge his blood, this is his light, and that of his parents and siblings.”

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana said at the ceremony: “During the days of Hanukkah, we commemorate the great miracle that happened to the people of Israel in the days of the Hasmonean Dynasty – our great victory over the Greeks.  God had given the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, the evil into the hands of those who practice Torah.”

“But it must also be remembered that in the generation of Matityahu’s sons the division of the people began and after 73 years the sons of Shlomtzion fought with each other and allowed the Romans to conquer the land and destroy the Temple,” he cautioned.

“The message to all of us from the story of the Hasmonean Dynasty is that we all have a duty to do –  we must become united.  No miracle will help us if we are not united,” Kahana concluded.



Lapid: Iran Only Attending Nuclear Talks To Secure Money

Israel urged world leaders to keep up pressure and not lift sanctions as part of nuclear negotiations which resumed in Vienna on Monday (29th), saying that tighter supervision of Tehran was needed.  

Negotiators were convened in a last-ditch effort to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned three years later by the United States under then-President Donald Trump, who imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran.

Israel has warned that Iran, its arch-enemy, will try to secure a windfall in sanctions relief at the talks, without sufficiently rolling back nuclear bomb-making potential through its accelerating enrichment of uranium.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, speaking in London alongside his British counterpart Liz Truss, said the Iranians were attending the talks because they only want access to money.

“This is what they have done in the past, and this is what they will do this time as well.  The intelligence is clear, and leaves no doubt,” he told reporters after signing a Memorandum of Understanding on trade, technology and defense with Britain.

“A nuclear Iran will thrust the entire Middle East into a nuclear arms race; we will find ourselves in a new Cold War.  But this time the bomb will be in the hands of religious fanatics who are engaged in terrorism as a way of life,” Lapid said.

“The world must prevent this and it can prevent it with tighter sanctions, tighter supervision, and the conducting of talks from a position of strength,” Lapid added.



IDF Warns Gazans Of Hamas’ Collapsing Tunnels

Maj. Avichai Adraee, the IDF’s spokesperson in Arabic, has issued a warning to the residents of the Gaza Strip following several landslides in the area, the result of the collapse of Hamas’ terror tunnel network.

Adraee stated on Monday (29th) that in the last month, the Gaza Strip witnessed more than three such collapses.  “According to estimates, the causes of these collapses is linked to the underground system of Hamas,” he noted in Arabic. 

“These events are a new example, but not the only one, of Hamas’ absurd use of civilian areas.  It is unpredictable when the earth will shake again under the feet of the Gazans.  Because of Hamas’ blatant exploitation in civilian areas, the Gaza population pays the price over and over again,” he said.  

“Residents of Gaza, I suggest that you be aware of the activities of Hamas in your areas,” he warned.

It appears that the recent rains have brought the collapsing of the tunnels, many of which have been built in the sand with cheap and weak materials.  Several Gazans working for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have died in these tunnel collapses in recent years.

According to data collected by the IDF, in 2016, 25 tunnels collapsed in Gaza killing 21 tunnel diggers from Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other radical organizations.  In 2017, nine tunnels collapsed and tens of tunnels were destroyed by the Egyptian army as part of their crackdown on terrorist activity in the Sinai.  These incidents resulted in the deaths of 33 members of Hamas and other Islamist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has built over the years an elaborate underground city running under Gaza.  The system in the Strip is meant to conceal Hamas military activities and serve as a system from which to fight the IDF.  The cross-border tunnels penetrating into Israeli territory were meant to be used as attack tunnels.  This threat has been mostly neutralized by an advanced underground barrier the IDF has built around the Strip.

Furthermore, on numerous occasions, Hamas has exploited UN facilities for its military operations.  In June 2017, UNRWA announced that it had uncovered a Hamas attack tunnel under two of its schools.

Again, in October 2017, UNRWA discovered another tunnel under one of its middle schools in Beit Hanoun.  This incident was condemned for endangering UNRWA workers and the students and for violating the neutrality of civilian sites.



Menorah Desecrated In Anti-Semitic Attack In Ukraine

A large Hanukkah menorah placed in the main square of a Ukrainian city was knocked off its hinges in an anti-Semitic attack during the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The incident in the central city of Dnipro was captured by local security cameras, which showed five young individuals approaching the menorah before knocking it down.  

According to Dnipro’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, the incident is an abnormal occurrence in the city, which is home to a large and bustling Jewish community.

“The incident is being examined and local law enforcement is working to apprehend those responsible,” said Kamenetsky.

“This is not an ordinary case for Dnipro, it just reminds us that we are still in exile.  The city has a large concentration of Jews – it is quite Jewish in nature,” the rabbi added.

“I hope they get caught, that we find out who did this.  It is important to mention that this city has dozens of menorahs…and this is the only case that happened….We completely trust the local security services,” Kamenetsky said.

The incident comes two months after Ukraine’s parliament passed a law defining the very concept of anti-Semitism and establishing punishment for any transgressions.