News Digest — 11/9/21

Synagogues Destroyed On Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938) To Be Digitally “Reconstructed”

To mark Kristallnacht this year, 18 synagogues which were destroyed during the pre-war Nazi-era pogrom in Germany will be digitally recreated and projected onto present-day buildings on Tuesday, November 9.

Video will be projected on buildings and screens at their original sites at 13 locations across Germany, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and beyond, on Tuesday night (9th) between 5 pm and 6 pm, depending on location.

Another five projections will be staged in Austria.

The project, an initiative of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) with the support of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Federation of Austrian Jewish Communities, is designed to “shine a light on the richness and diversity of Jewish life in Germany” before the Holocaust.

The initiative in Germany is taking place under the patronage of its Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht, while in Austria the projections will be under the patronage of Federal Minister of Justice Alma Zadic and Federal Minister for the EU Karoline Edtstadler.  

Kristallnacht was a series of riots and pogroms organized by the Nazis in Germany on November 9-10, 1938, in which up to a thousand synagogues were destroyed, dozens, if not hundreds of Jews were killed, thousands of Jewish businesses were vandalized and looted throughout both Germany and Austria, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Kristallnacht was called “Night of Broken Glass” because of the amount of broken glass, from all the destruction by the Nazis against Jews, which lay everywhere in both Germany and Austria.

“The Nazis infringed on the most sacred buildings that provided shelter and solidarity for people.  The destruction of places of worship was an anticipation of the Holocaust,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, upon announcement of the project.

“The intention of the perpetrators of Kristallnacht was very clear.  The presence of Jews was supposed to vanish from the public sphere and thereby also be erased from collective memory.  This history makes it more important today to make visible and perceptible what was lost in 1938,” he said.

“Within the last number of years, new synagogues have reopened again, bringing hope for a more peaceful future,” Lauder said.  “I hope that this installation project will make people interested in visiting a real synagogue again and coming together in conversation with Jewish communities worldwide.” 



Syria Says Israel Struck Near Homs In 3rd Alleged Attack In 2 Weeks

The Israeli military struck a number of sites in western Syria in a rare early evening attack on Monday (8th), Syrian state media reported.

According to the Syrian military, the strikes hit targets in the area of Homs in western Syria and around Tartus, along the Mediterranean coast.  One of the targets was located at the Shayrat Airport near Homs.

Syrian state media outlet SANA reported that two Syrian soldiers were wounded in the strikes, which also caused “material losses.”

The opposition-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the targets were Iranian-controlled weapons caches.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of ambiguity regarding its activities in Syria.

This was the third attack attributed to Israel in the past week and a half, and at least the sixth in the past month, marking a clear uptick in the number of strikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military.  According to the Syrian military, Monday’s (8th) attack at 7 pm, was an irregular time for an alleged Israeli strike, which would typically be conducted in the early hours of the morning.

According to SANA, the missiles were fired from Israeli jets flying off the coast of Lebanon, north of Beirut.  The Syrian military said it shot down most of the incoming missiles, a claim it makes after every alleged Israeli strike, which Israeli military and civilian defense analysts largely dismiss as empty boasts.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria over the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.



Will New Unmanned Helicopter Prove A Game Changer?

Israeli defense company Steadicopter on Monday (8th) unveiled the newest member of its Rotary Unmanned Aerial Systems, saying that the Black Eagle 50 Electric unmanned helicopter was a game-changer.

Powered by electric motors and designed for a wide range of law enforcement, maritime, civilian and covert missions, “The Black Eagle 50 Electric is the first electrically-powered unmanned helicopter with a maximum takeoff weight of 110 pounds,” the company said in a statement.

“This enables high performance and maximum operational flexibility for both security forces and civilian applications, such as search and rescue, cyber, intelligence, gas and oil rigs, and high-end naval missions.”

“The system also has the capacity to carry additional batteries for longer flights, heavier payloads and more,” Steadicopter noted.

This is also the first electrically-powered unmanned helicopter with a maximum takeoff off 110 pounds and useful load weight of 66 pounds, comprising payload and batteries, that is capable of up to two hours of flight time.

“This enables high performance and maximum operational flexibility for both security forces and civilian applications in search and rescue, cyber, intelligence, gas and oil rigs, and high-end naval missions,” Steadicopter said, further describing the Black Eagle 50 Electric as “extremely cost-effective, simple to operate, easy to maintain and environmentally friendly.”

Noam Lidor, Sales and Marketing Director at Steadicopter said, “The Black Eagle 50 Electric has been developed in response to the need of the company’s customers worldwide for an electric VTOL aircraft, which can still be used in many and varied missions, both in terms of  the ability to carry advanced payloads during extended time in the air.”

“This is a truly multi-domain, multi-mission and multi-sensor system, coupled with all the benefits of a covert, easy-to-maintain, highly versatile electrically-powered system.”

Founded in 2005, Steadicopter specializes in the design, development and production of unmanned helicopters.



1,000 Officers Sign Letter Against Jerusalem Consulate for PA

Nearly a thousand senior officers and reservists from all security forces, members of the “Habithonistim” movement, called in a petition to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, not to allow the opening of an American consulate for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Jerusalem.

In the letter, the senior officials wrote that “Opening a consulate in the heart of Jerusalem for a foreign entity constitutes a serious violation of Israel’s sovereignty in the capital.  The choice of location is far from accidental.  This is an attempt to put a question mark over Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem under the pretext of ‘providing services’ to the Palestinians, and in fact constitutes a political decision aimed at returning Jerusalem to the negotiating table.  This unnecessary reward for the Palestinians also poses a real danger of a flare-up of the territories again.”

The authors warned that the opening of a consulate constitutes a practical division of the city.  “If the consulate is opened in its designated location, on Argon Street in the heart of Jerusalem, on a major traffic artery, between the city hall and the prime minister’s residence, this will constitute an actual division of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

The letter concludes with a proposal for the Biden Administration: “The United States, which is a top strategic ally for the State of Israel, is invited to open an embassy or consulate for the Palestinians in Ramallah or any other PA-controlled area, which will also coordinate the reasonable requirement for an accessible and convenient location for Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, without blatantly and dangerously trampling on the Jewish people’s right to their capital.”



Chinese Public Opinion And The Palestinian Question – Fan Hongda

Until the adoption of the UN resolution on the partition of Palestine in 1947, at the urging of the major powers, Palestinians were a people ruled by others, never having established their own independent state.  The Arab states’ collective boycott and rejection of Resolution 181 pushed the Palestinians even further away from establishing an independent state.

Israel will never give up eastern Jerusalem, and no Israeli decision-maker will ever order a withdrawal from the West Bank’s Jewish communities.  The fact remains that one of the world’s most widely influential books – the Bible – makes their case.  How can a Zionist ignore the Bible’s account of the Jews and their forefathers and deny the connection between the Jewish people and the Land?

Furthermore, Israel is a state that was established under international law and in accordance with UN resolutions, and Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the result of wars that the Arab states waged against it; most of the territories were won from previous occupiers, namely Jordan and Egypt.  The plight of the Palestinians today is clearly not the fault of Israel alone.

The writer is a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University.