News Digest — 11/9/20

Yad Vashem Debuts New Exhibition On Kristallnacht Anniversary – Joseph Wolkin

Their land didn’t want them.  The people living on the land didn’t want them.  Many people left, but a few stayed.

The Jews of Europe were tortured.  Their businesses were destroyed, as were their synagogues.  Now 82 years after Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Yad Vashem is showcasing a new digital exhibition to elaborate on the events that took place from November 9 to 10, 1938.

The online exhibition entitled, “‘It Came From Within:’ The November Pogrom (Kristallnacht)” features personal stories, archives, a Torah scroll, video testimonies and more.  The exhibition is available in English, Hebrew, German and Spanish.

“That night was so aggressive and I want to show that when people think of Kristallnacht, they think it was only synagogues that were burning and glass was broken,” Yona Kobo, the curator at Yad Vashem who created ‘It Came From Within,’ said.  “They don’t know what happened to the people.”

In this exhibition, Kobo gathered several stories that show what exactly happened to individuals during the pogrom.

Not only did the two-day event have an impact on Jews across Europe, but the days before and after were just as dangerous.  There are ten interactive pictures to click on, each telling a different story from Kristallnacht.

“It’s a very important turning point, because after that, it wasn’t just anti-Jewish legislation,” Kobo said.  “There was a lot of vandalism against the Jews in a very severe way.”

One of the exhibition’s key elements is Lore Mayerfield Stern’s story about her doll.  This wasn’t just a doll, but a symbol of how she and her mother survived the pogrom in Marburg, Germany.

“She only managed to take her pajamas from her home,” Kobo said, “the pajamas that her doll was wearing.”

In the two-day span, (November 9-10, 1938), 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and deported to various concentration camps.  Jewish businesses and synagogues were destroyed.  Roughly 100 people were murdered by the Nazis in the first major mass incarceration of Jews, and several committed suicide in the days after.

“They took away their dignity,” Kobo said.

In the days and weeks following Kristallnacht, Jews began to flee en masse from Germany.  Some went to the Netherlands and France, but ultimately fell victim to the Nazi regime.

Now in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Yad Vashem is seeing an uptick in its website traffic.  The Holocaust Museum believes it is an opportune time to teach about the events that occurred and their timeline.  And Vad Vashem is getting creative by using the pandemic as a time to make its collections and exhibits easily accessible.

“We thought no one would care about it right now, but the numbers are great,” Kobo said.  “People want to see something authentic.”

The biggest lesson of all, though, from the exhibit is to never give up hope.

“After such a terrible ordeal, you can still get up and continue,” Kobo said.  “We have stories of people who managed to leave and build new lives.”

For Kristallnacht’s anniversary this year, March of the Living launched #lettherebelight, a social media campaign to spread awareness about the night of terror.  They are also inviting people across the globe to keep their lights on to show solidarity with the Jewish community in memory of those who were killed in the Holocaust.



Netanyahu Announces New Settlement In Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the establishment of a new settlement in the Gaza Envelope during Sunday’s (8th) Cabinet meeting.

“Today I bring before the government’s decision the establishment of a new settlement in the Gaza Envelope.  This is great news for Israel, this is great news for the communities in the Gaza Envelope,” Netanyahu said.

“We continue to develop southern communities, including moshavim and kibbutzim.  We are developing new neighborhoods in Sderot and Netivot,” he said naming two cities in the southern region of Israel.

“I have to tell you that there is a waiting list for every home. This is the best proof of our national resilience,” the prime minister said.

Shay Hajaj, head of one of the southern area regional councils, said, “The establishment of a new settlement these days, and especially in the Gaza Strip, is of enormous national importance.  It makes a statement on Israel’s determination to continue to build and develop settlements in all parts of the country.  The government intends to continue to develop the periphery.”

Israel’s south is one of the most dangerous places to live as it borders the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.  Since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005, the region bordering it has been subject to increased attack from missiles, rockets, incendiary devices and terror tunnels.

On October 20, the Israeli military revealed that terrorists in the Gaza Strip dug a tunnel dozens of yards deep that crossed the security fence before it was detected by underground sensors.

Israel has uncovered around 20 such tunnels since the 2014 war with the Islamic terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza.  Palestinian terrorists launched deadly attacks through such tunnels during the war. 

Ever since March 2018, Hamas began using incendiary devices tied to kites and balloons as their preferred weapon, causing damage to thousands of acres of nature preserves and farmland in Israel.  Hamas terror balloon-units have repeatedly threatened to turn the life of Jewish residents bordering the Gaza Strip into “hell.”



IDF Thwarts Stabbing Attack Near Hebron

An attempted stabbing attack took place adjacent to Al Fawwar, southwest of Hebron on Sunday (8th).

The assailant, later identified as Ali Suleiman Muhammed Amru, 41, arrived at the area in a vehicle, exited it and advanced with a drawn knife towards troops in an attempt to stab the soldiers at a junction.

The troops called on the assailant to stop, but he kept on advancing toward them.  The soldiers fired three shots toward his feet in an attempt to stop him.

Amru continued to advance, saying he came to die.  The troops fired at him.  No IDF injuries were reported.  The assailant was evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment.

The attack follows one last Wednesday (4th) when IDF troops thwarted an attempted shooting attack south of Nablus.

The attacker, identified as Balal Adnan Rawajba, had served in the Palestinian Authority’s security services.  In fact the weapon he used in the attack was given to him by the PA, according to IDF sources .

Rawajba pointed his weapon at the soldiers, who neutralized him before he could use it.

No IDF casualties were reported in that attack either.



Palestinian University Gate Named After Planner Of Munich Olympics Massacre

The Student Union Council at Palestine Polytechnic University recently gifted the school with a gate named after Salah Haslaf, known as “Abu Iyad” – the terrorist who was the Black September terror organization leader and who planned the Munich Olympics Massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered in 1972.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the university’s Student Union Council chairman Saif Al-Muhtasib declared during the inauguration of the gate that “we have built this structure to commemorate the name of late martyr Salah Khalaf ‘Abu Iyad.’  We are proud of the distinguished leaders whose bodies are no more, but whose spirits remain among us.”

On the gate of the university, reported PMW, are images of Khalaf and former PA chairman Yasser Arafat, under which is written in Arabic: “The fortress of Martyr Saleh Khalaf ‘Abu Iyad.”

“To the left of the text,” explained PMW, “is the logo of the Palestine Polytechnic University Student Union Council, which includes the PA map of ‘Palestine’ that includes all of Israel in the colors of the Palestinian flag, indicating Palestinian sovereignty over the entire area.”

“To the right is the logo of Palestine Polytechnic University’s Al Aqsa Martyrs student group that is affiliated with Fatah.” continued PMW.  “This logo also uses the Palestinian Authority map of ‘Palestine,’ as well as a raised fist at the top of it.”

It is no surprise that the students at the Polytechnic admire terrorist Salah Khalaf,” stated Palestinian Media Watch, “as the PA reveres the terrorists behind the Munich Olympics terror attack, and have already named a school, and also a sports center, after Salah Khalaf.”



Israeli NGO Performs The 5,555th Lifesaving Surgery On Palestinian Toddler

Israeli humanitarian NGO Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) performed its 5,555th lifesaving procedure last Sunday (1st), with some 50% of those procedures dedicated to treating Palestinian children.

For its 5,555th procedure, the NGO treated a five-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza, Mahmad, who – at two weeks of age – was brought to a local hospital after he started experiencing breathing issues, while separately unable to gain weight, and suffering from a life-threatening heart defect.

“I was sure that my son was sick, that if he had access to the right treatment he could be healed,” his mother said.

The family was made aware of the SACH program by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Abdelrahim Azab, who is a trained partner of SACH.  SACH not only brings children from the Palestinian territories and abroad to Israel for lifesaving treatments, it also trains doctors within these regions to perform the surgeries locally – who learn directly form Israeli health experts.

Mahmad was brought to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for treatment, where he underwent surgery to save his life.  He will most likely need to return to Wolfson for follow-up procedures.

“I felt so powerless before.  I knew that I had to be an advocate for my son, and I was empowered by how important it was to give him the best life possible,” Mahmad’s mother said.

“That’s one of the main reasons I am so grateful to Save A Child’s Heart – they fought for my son’s life as hard as I did,” she added.  “We were dependent on others for their expertise, and for their financial support as my husband is unemployed.  Save A Child’s Heart gave us everything we needed.  They are like family to me.”

SACH has so far treated children hailing from 62 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and South America, as well as the Palestinian territories.

“Save A Child’s Heart exemplifies the true face of Israel, using our education, innovative spirit, and skills to provide lifesaving heart surgeries both in Israel, and in underdeveloped countries abroad, where SACH sets up field hospitals and trains local medical team members,” said one of SACH’s major benefactors, Sylvan Adams.  “At its home base at the Wolfson Medical center, SACH treats Palestinian children on a day-to-day basis, and children such as Mahmad are greeted by Arabic-speaking Israelis, and treated with humanity by a team dedicated to their health and well-being.”

“SACH’s mission is guided by the Jewish imperative of tikun olam – improving the world, and I am very proud to be involved in this beautiful work,” he concluded.