News Digest — 4/27/20

Independence Day Lockdown Restrictions To Go Into Effect

Beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday (27th), the lockdown restrictions approved by Israel’s Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Independence Day will go into effect.

The Israeli government has approved allowing bereaved families to visit cemeteries and memorial sites until 4 p.m. on Monday, and has stated that memorial ceremonies will be held without large crowds.

From 5 p.m. on Tuesday (28th) until 8 p.m. on Wednesday (29th), Israelis will be allowed to leave their homes only to purchase essential needs, in the town or city where they live.  There will be no public transportation.  Outings for non-essential needs will be limited to a radius of 330 feet from a person’s home. Exercise will also be limited to about 1,500 feet from home.

The Health Ministry has ordered that Independence Day celebrations be held only at home, and banned the purchase of food both on the day prior to Independence Day and on Independence Day itself.

Masks do not have to be worn while exercising, but all other outings require the use of a mask, except for children under seven and those with medical exceptions.

The law regarding masks will be enforced, with those not complying paying fines.

Meanwhile, as of Monday (27th) those infected with the coronavirus in Israel have reached 15,000 cases and reported deaths from the virus are 200.



Israel Marks 100th Anniversary Of San Remo Conference That Paved Way For Jewish State

On Sunday (26th), Israel and Jewish communities around the world marked the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Conference and its closing resolution that paved the way for the rebirth of an independent Jewish state.

Representatives of the victorious allied powers met on April 26, 1920 in San Remo, Italy to divide up the lands that had been part of the defeated Ottoman Empire, giving new independence to the peoples who lived there.  The document created new countries like Syria and Iraq, but also the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

While some Middle East countries gained quick independence, the leading nations of the world recognized the concept of an independent nation-state for the Jewish people for the first time since Jewish independent rule was ended by the Romans in 136 CE.  The leaders gave Palestine to the British who had captured Jerusalem during World War I.

The Mandate for Palestine gave Britain the job of preparing the groundwork to “secure the establishment of the Jewish national home.”  However, for almost three decades Britain did the opposite, actively working to undermine Jewish sovereignty until finally the newly established United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the land, establishing Jewish and Arab states.

“There is probably no more understated event in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict than the San Remo Conference of April 1920,” said Professor Efraim Karsh of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.  The outcome of the conference “created a new international order on the basis of indigenous self-rule and national self-determination.”

Karsh said it marked the first time the international community gave “unqualified recognition” to the Jews as a national group rather than simply as members of a religious community.

“It was an extraordinary feat of diplomacy…recognizing the Jews as a nation deserving self-determination in its ancestral homeland,” Karsh wrote in a paper released to mark the century since the conference.  “This is something that successive Palestinian leaderships have been loath to acknowledge to date.”

“The world powers recognized the ancient connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, and the right of the Jewish people to a national home on that land was given the force of International Law,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in a tweet marking the anniversary.

A live online broadcast remembering the San Remo Conference, by the European Coalition for Israel, and hosted by the Christian Broadcast Network’s Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchel,  was broadcast Sunday evening (26th) featuring Israeli diplomats and greetings from world leaders.



Israel’s Population Now At 9.2 Million As Independence Day Nears

A Central Bureau of Statistics annual report shows the country’s population grew by 171,000 people over the past year, and is expected to pass 15 million when Israel turns 100 in 2048; 74% are Jews, 21% Arabs.

Israel’s population has reached 9.2 million, the CBS said Sunday (26th) in its report published ahead of Independence Day.  By 2030, Israel’s population is expected to reach 11.1 million.

Currently there are 6.8 million Jews and 1.93 million Arabs.

Another 450,000 are non-Arab Christians, including people listed as non-religious in the latest census.

There are 164,000 foreign workers in Israel.

Among the Jewish population, 78% are native-born, while 3.3 million have immigrated to the country.  Some 32,000 mew migrants arrived in Israel over the past two years.

Since last year, 180,000 babies have been born, and 44,000 people have passed away.

According to the report data, 36.1% of Israel’s population is below the age of 19, 31.6% is between the ages of 20-49 and 25.1% is over the age of 50, with 0.6% over the age of 90.



Palestinian Teacher Posts Lesson Hailing Terrorist In 1978 Attack That Killed 38 Jews

An Arabic-language teacher at a Palestinian school in Hebron posted a grammar lesson for students to review at home during the coronavirus pandemic that glorifies the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre that killed 38 Israeli civilians, along with a female terrorist who took part in the attack.

Nasser al-Rajabi uploaded the reading comprehension and grammar lesson to YouTube on February 28, and it was twice shared on his Wasyah Al-Rasoul elementary school for boys’ Facebook page in March.  The video has since racked up 11,000 views.

The lesson is based on a 2019 Palestinian Authority Arabic-language textbook for fifth graders according to an Israel watchdog that analyzes Palestinian textbooks, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).

In the 1978 attack, several Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road, and killed 38 Israeli civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70 others.

In the lesson, al-Rajabi includes a graphic of one of the architects of the terror attack, Dalal Mughrabi standing in the hijacked bus, pointing a rifle at the Israeli passengers inside with what appears to be a murdered woman on the bus floor next to a Palestinian flag.  Below the image is a sentence taken from the textbook that reads, “She took the flag of Palestine out of her bag, kissed it and then hung it inside the bus.”

In a separate corresponding Q&A video on the lesson, al-Rajabi tells students that the attack was carried out “to avenge the martyrs and remind the world of the Deir Yassin Massacre.”

“The suicide operation….cause the deaths of many of the occupation’s  soldiers,” al Rajabi added during the Q&A session, even though only one Israeli soldier was killed in the Coastal Road Massacre.

A spokesman for the PA education ministry said he was not familiar with the lesson but declined to comment further.

IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said the Hebron teacher’s video demonstrates that “even when studying at home, Palestinian children cannot escape the hate.  The violence and incitement of the official Palestinian Authority curriculum is being neatly migrated online by official and unofficial educational initiatives and fed into the living rooms of Palestinian children.” 



The Jewish Imperative For the Post-Corona World – Ronald S. Lauder

→ For many weeks now, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our civilization, and the Jewish people have once again found themselves at the forefront of the struggle against a worldwide calamity.

→ New York City has been an outsize victim of the pandemic – and some of its Jewish communities have been especially hard hit.  London, too, has suffered badly – and in some of its Jewish communities the number of cases has been especially high.  So, too, in other European cities, chief among them Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Moscow.

→ From Borough Park to Golders Green, from Williamsburg to Stamford Hill, Jewish communities are experiencing loss, panic, hardship and pain.  But these same communities are demonstrating exceptional fortitude and cohesion.  Their difficult hour is also their finest hour.

→ Today more than ever, it is clear just how dependent we are on one another.  And it is doubly clear that we must overcome that which divides us, and rediscover what unites us – and above all support one another.  The imperative to nurture a strong, unified Jewish community grows exponentially in the face of the dangers surrounding us.

→ In the last few years, we have witnessed a new outbreak of one of the oldest and most odious plagues the world has ever known: hatred of the Jews.  Today, there are those who blame the Jews for the spread of coronavirus, and there will be those who blame the Jews for the  coming severe economic dislocation.

→ On this front, there is absolutely no room for compromise.  We must stand as one against those who would destroy us.  We must protect every Jew and every Jewish community that comes under attack.

→ Above all, we must re-embrace our age-old ethos of mutual responsibility and love of Israel.  In the post-coronavirus world, globalization will wane and nationalism will rise.  Thus, we must act now, fostering the Jewish spirit of enlightened, generous, humane and democratic nationhood.

The writer, a former U.S. ambassador and deputy assistant secretary of defense, is president of the World Jewish Congress.