News Digest — 12/2/19

Israel’s Cabinet Approves 40-Million-Shekel Infusion For Security In Judea And Samaria

At the start of a meeting with his Security Council on Sunday (1st), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the security and well-being of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“We will fight terrorism.  They will not uproot us from here [Judea and Samaria].  This is our land,” Netanyahu said. 

The Security Cabinet is expected to approve 40 million shekels in funding for security and emergency response stations in Judea and Samaria.

According to a report by i24 News, 34.5 million shekels will go for security services, 5.5 million shekels will go towards emergency services, and an extra 3.6 million shekels will be invested in psychological counseling services in these communities.

“We will provide these funds within the framework of preserving the lives and security of our brothers who live there,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister had announced the Cabinet’s intention to approve the money in budgetary assistance for security and rescue components in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley in a meeting with Judea and Samaria Council leaders last Thursday (11/28).

On Sunday (1st), he also praised the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, for its success in fighting and preventing terrorism in Judea and Samaria.

“Ahead of the weekend, I had my weekly meeting with the head of the ISA.  He briefed me on operations. Would that I could share these with all Israeli citizens, great operations, there is no other word for it… These successes are very impressive, and cooperation between the ISA and the IDF is reaping marvelous results for the State of Israel.  Simultaneously with the fight against terrorism, we are strengthening the security components of the Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

The Cabinet’s decision comes on the heels of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on November 18 that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are not illegal according to international law.



Yes, Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism – Bret Stephens

→ Anti-Zionism is unique because its view is that the Zionist enterprise, that is to say, the State of Israel, is misconceived, it’s wrong, and at the end of the day, it isn’t simply Israeli policy that has to change, but it is Israel itself that has to go.

→ This is unique when you think about other countries around the world.  Many of us are critics of China’s occupation of Tibet, or Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine.  Some people are aware that Turkey is occupying northern Cyprus, in violation of international law, and putting down settlements there too.

→ But none of those critiques extend to calls for Russia, China, or Turkey to disappear, to be eliminated.

→ Anti-Zionism tends, very frequently, to traffic in images, tropes and libels that have a long history in an anti-Semitic tradition stretching back for thousands of years.  For example, when you hear that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, which it of course manifestly is not, you are trafficking in a classic anti-Semitic trope, suggesting that the Jewish people have a particular kind of bloodlust.

→ It has become fashionable to hate Jews using the excuse of their statehood, of their nationality, and of their willingness to defend their borders, as the latest pretext to single out Jewish people for opprobrium for hatred that is applied to no other people in the world.

→ That is why anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, and it is the anti-Semitism of our day.

The writer is a New York Times columnist.  This is from a recent Munk Debate podcast



They ‘Support Palestine,’ But Can’t Find It On The Map

A recent survey of students of the University of California Berkeley revealed many students who claimed to advocate for the Palestinian cause actually have little knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ron E. Hassner, the Helen Diller Chair in Israeli Studies at UC Berkeley recently surveyed 230 students at the university.  Despite most students purporting to care “deeply” about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, “75% of those students cannot locate those territories on a map and 84% cannot name the decade (let alone the year) in which the occupation began,” Hassner wrote in an essay detailing the results of the survey.

Shockingly, 25% “of these students placed the Palestinian territories west of Lebanon, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea,” Hassner added.

Most students also had no idea how many people actually lived in Israel.  Only 17% of the students gave the correct answer, while others made guesses that were way off, ranging from 100,000 to 150 million people.

Interestingly, having a more moderate stance on the conflict seemed to reflect greater knowledge of the issues at hand, Hassner explained.  He revealed that those students were more likely to know “more and are more likely to admit gaps in their knowledge.”

The survey wasn’t only limited to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Rather, students were asked to weigh in on 18 key issues in the Middle East ranging from US-Iran relations, the civil war in Yemen and drone warfare.  The students were then given a five-point scale to indicate their level of interest in each topic.

The students seemed most interested in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while expressing indifference toward other instances of occupation like the Kurdish struggle for independence in Iraq, the Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara, and the Turkish occupation in Northern Cyprus. 



Moshe Holtzberg Celebrates Bar Mitzvah

Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were killed in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India when he was 2, received high-profile congratulations on the occasion of his bar mitzvah on Sunday (1st), with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi writing him a letter and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recording a video message.

“As you make this important transition and cross a significant landmark in the journey of your life, the courage of [nanny] Sandra Samuels and prayers of the people of India will continue to bless you for a long, healthy and successful life.  Your story continues to inspire everyone. It is a miracle of hope overcoming tragedy and immeasurable loss,” wrote Modi.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also sent a message of congratulations: “We know that there is life amidst this tragedy.  There is revival and there is hope. You have the love of the entire Jewish people, including all citizens of Israel and very many outside Israel at this time.”

Holtzberg also received a letter from President Donald Trump saying: “Mazal tov on becoming a bar mitzvah.  We join your family and friends in celebrating this joyous occasion and send our best wishes as you mark this significant milestone.  May your faith continue to guide, strengthen, and comfort you throughout your life.”

Moshe’s parents Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg who were the directors of the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai when it was attacked, were killed on November 26, 2008.  Four other Israeli and American visitors to the house were also killed.

The Chabad House was among 12 targeted locations in coordinated attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organization based in Pakistan.

The child was dubbed “Baby Moshe” when a photo of his terrified-looking nanny running from the besieged Chabad House clutching the little boy was splashed on the front pages of newspapers around the world. 



Norwegian Mayor Asks Church To Take Down Star Of David

A Norwegian mayor asked a church to replace its traditional Star of David Christmas decoration due to complaints that it’s too associated with Israel and Jews.

Strand Mayor Irene Heng Lauvsnes asked the Klippen Pentecostal church, which lights a large Star of David decoration in a municipal park where it holds a Christmas celebration, to replace the symbol with a traditional Christmas star,” the Strandbuen newspaper reported Wednesday (27th).

The park in southern Norway must remain “neutral,” Lauvsnes told local news media.

Unnamed critics said the church “designed the decoration, a Star of David as a national symbol for both Jews and the State of Israel, and “therefore it should not be in a public space.” 

The church is considering the request as it “does not want to provoke in any way” its representatives.

The use of the Star of David in Christmas decorations is common throughout northern Europe.

The municipality’s intervention provoked anger, including by the editor in chief of the Dagan daily, Vebjorn Selbekk.

“Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas.  Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all,” Selbekk wrote in a column titled “Merry Jew-Free Christmas,” adding “that the holiday “is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a Jewish stable in a Jewish city in a Jewish country.”