News Digest — 12/3/19

Israel Set To Seek UN Recognition Of Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon is to announce on Tuesday (3rd) a plan to advance a resolution recognizing Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

The move comes as the UN General Assembly marks 72 years since the November 29, 1947 partition plan that established the State of Israel.

“The international community, like so often, is comfortable focusing only on Palestinian refugees while erasing the story of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the history pages,” said Danon.

“But the State of Israel will give voice to the truth and correct the historical injustice by putting an end to the deafening silence on the part of the international community.”

Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN says that the new resolution asking for the UN to recognize some 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries is designed to undermine the proposed Palestinian resolutions.

An event hosted by the Israeli mission will also be held in New York on Wednesday (4th), to formally launch the new initiative.

Elan Carr, the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, is expected to attend.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated from Arab countries in the years surrounding 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel.  Most went to Israel and helped build the country, but thousands more immigrated to other countries and established Sephardic Jewish communities.

A recent study conducted by Beit Hatfutsot, the museum of the Jewish people in Tel Aviv, on behalf of Ynet showed that Jews began leaving Arab countries even before the establishment of Israel, and more left as the conflict between Arab countries and their Jewish residents intensified.



Hebron’s Cave Of The Patriarchs To Undergo Major Renovation

Israeli authorities are “pushing ahead with plans to renovate part of the Cave of the Patriarchs complex in Hebron” to make it wheel-chair accessible, reports Israeli media, saying that the Israeli plan is moving forward despite “the objections of the Jordan-based Waqf, or Islamic Trust, which co-manages the site along with the Israeli rabbinate.

The burial of three Jewish patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and three Jewish matriarchs – Sarah, Rebecca and Leah – are located there.

Muslims view themselves as descending from Abraham’s older son, Ishmael.

Documents show that the Israel Defense Ministry’s plans for the renovations would “include the addition of an elevator and bridge connected to the tomb entrance.”

“The Tourism Ministry is providing half a million shekels ($144,000) for the project, though the final cost is yet to be determined,” according to its website.  It said that “the local Jewish community has long-backed the changes, making the site more accessible,” adding however that until now, “plans to renovate have been stymied by the Hebron municipality, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.”

The Defense Ministry is “expected to expropriate the land around the complex from the Arab municipality of Hebron and the Waqf, which have thus far refused to permit the renovations,” according to Israeli media.

The Defense Ministry website said that “in July, the Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) sent a letter to the Hebron municipality demanding that it permit the renovation work, adding that if the municipality refuses, the Defense Ministry will expropriate the land and carry out the renovations unilaterally.”



Netanyahu Criticizes EU Leaders For Helping Iran Circumvent U.S. Sanctions (Prime Minister’s Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday (1st):

→ “In Tehran, in Baghdad, in Beirut, people are taking to the streets.  They are being slaughtered by the hundreds…In Baghdad, Iran’s cronies have killed hundreds of Iraqis.”

→ “And while the people of the Middle East bravely stand up to Iran and its henchmen…countries in Europe are working to bypass U.S. sanctions against Iran.

→ “While the Iranian regime is killing its own people, European countries rush to support that very murderous regime.  While Iran bombs Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, while Iran rushes to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, European countries rush to appease Iran with even more concessions.’

→ “These European countries should be ashamed of themselves.  Have they learned nothing from history?”

→ “They are enabling a fanatic terrorist state to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, thereby bringing disaster to themselves and upon everyone else.”

→ “Now is the time to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, not to lessen it.” 



Israeli Scientists Find A Way To Treat Deadly Pancreatic Cancer In 14 Days

A new treatment developed by Tel Aviv University could induce the destruction of pancreatic cancer cells, eradicating the number of cancerous cells by up to 90% after two weeks of daily injecting a small molecule PJ34.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat.  Most people who are diagnosed with the disease don’t live beyond five years, much less than many other forms of cancer.  The study, led by Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon and her team at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Talia Golan’s team at the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, was recently published in the journal Oncotarget.

Specifically, the study found that a small molecule called PJ34 injected intravenously, cause the self-destruction of human cancer cells during their mitosis, the scientific term for cell division.  The research was conducted with xenografts, transplantation of human pancreatic cancer into immuno-compromised mice. A month after being injected with the molecule daily for 14 days, “there was a reduction of 90% of pancreatic cells in the tumor,” Cohen-Armon told The Jerusalem Post. “In one mouse, the tumor completely disappeared.”

She said the molecule PJ34 appears to have no impact on healthy cells, thus “no adverse effects were observed.”  The mice, she said continued to grow and gain weight as usual.

How long will it take to move from mice to human trials?  

She said that she estimates “at least two years on the condition that we get enough funding.” 

First, she said, the group will test the treatment on pigs and then apply for permission from the FDA to administer humans with the molecule.

“I am optimistic,” Cohen-Armon concluded.

To learn more about Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, please visit their website:



Belgian Town Chooses Anti-Semitic Carnival Floats Over UN Cultural Heritage Status

A town in Belgium is removing its place on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) cultural heritage list rather than getting rid of its anti-Semitic parade floats, reports Antwerp’s HLN news outlet.

Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese made the announcement on Sunday (1st) just a few weeks before UNESCO was expected to vote on it’s removal from sponsoring the parade.

“We have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints and Aalst will renounce its UNESCO recognition,” D’Haese said in a statement.

“I want to give Aalst’s Carnival back to Aalst,” he added.

The Aalst carnival is an annual satirical parade that takes place three-days before the Roman Catholic days of Lent.  

During this year’s Aalst Carnival, a float depicting puppets of hook-nosed Orthodox Jews with rats sitting on money bags was on display.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the European Jewish Association, condemned the D’Haese abhorrent decision.

“Despite the widespread criticism, despite the clear grotesque anti-Semitic imagery, despite the opportunity to at least acknowledge the wrong and hurt caused, the mayor of Aalst has consistently remained defiant and mocking,” he said.

“It is sad when given the opportunity to put things right and return the carnival to universal values of decency, they instead prefer to put themselves outside the pale.  So be it”

This is not the first time that an anti-Semitic float was seen at the carnival.

In 2013, a float resembling a Nazi rail cattle car used to transport Jews to their death was on display.  Walking beside the float were people dressed as Nazi SS officers and Haredi Orthodox Jews. A poster on the wagon depicted Belgian politicians dressed as Nazis who were holding Zyklon B canisters, the poison that killed millions of Jews in the gas chambers.