News Digest — 4/27/22
Report: Syria Claims Israel Carried Out Airstrikes Near Damascus, 4 Syrian Soldiers Killed
Four Syrian soldiers were killed and three others were wounded after alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted sites near Damascus early Wednesday morning (27th), according to Syrian state news agency SANA.
A Syrian military source told the news agency that Israeli aircraft fired missiles from over northern Israel towards sites near Damascus.
The Syrian Capital Voice news site reported that the strikes targeted two locations near the Damascus International Airport, as well as a site belonging to pro-Iranian forces in the Samarian area of Damascus.
The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV reported that sites near Qudsaya and Jamraya, northwest of Damascus, as well as near the Mezzeh Military Airport, were targeted in the strikes.
Independent flight tracking sites had reported on Tuesday (26th) that a flight from Qeshm Air, which has reportedly been used to smuggle Iranian weapons to Syria and Lebanon, traveled between Tehran and Damascus.
The strikes are the third alleged Israeli attacks on Syria in the past month.
Two weeks ago an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted sites near the towns of Rakhlah and Qatana, southwest of Damascus, according to Lebanese TV. The Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamraya was also targeted, according to the Step News Agency.
Less than a week before that, a rare daytime alleged Israeli airstrike targeted sites near Masyaf in northwestern Syria belonging to pro-Iranian militias, killing two members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp.
German Bundestag President To Tour Yad Vashem, Take Part In Yom Hashoah Events
German Bundestag President Barbel Bas will visit Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center – in Jerusalem on Wednesday (27th), on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance, which takes place April 27-28.
She will be accompanied by the Knesset Speaker Micky Levy, said Yad Vashem on Tuesday (26th).
The tour includes the “Flashes of Memory” exhibition and the Museum of Holocaust Art, as well as a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, according to the statement. They will also visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem guestbook.
“This is another important expression of the special connection that exists between Israel and Germany, and of the historical responsibility for the Holocaust crimes that Germany has taken on,” Levy said, according to a repot by i24News. “I have no doubts that this visit will also help strengthen the connection and parliamentary work between the Knesset and the Bundestag.”
Bas will also be a guest speaker at certain Yom Hashoah ceremonies, becoming the first senior-level German official to take part in the Israeli parliament’s commemoration, noted the report.
Israel’s UN Envoy Shows Who’s To Blame For Temple Mount Riots
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addressed the Security Council Monday (25th) during a meeting on the Middle East, which focused on the situation in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Following the Council’s refusal to let Ambassador Erdan present videos from the Temple Mount during his remarks, the ambassador held a media stakeout before the meeting in which he described what is taking place on the Temple Mount to the international media.
The videos which showed Palestinians attacking Jews and police with rocks, firecrackers and fireworks, proved beyond any doubt that Palestinian extremists are solely responsible for the violence on the Temple Mount, Erdan’s spokesperson said.
Erdan also sent letters to the Security Council members, and the Israeli Mission distributed footage proving what happened on the Temple Mount and in the Al-Aqsa Mosque so there would not be claims that members had not had an opportunity to see what had taken place.
“In his speech, Erdan criticized the Council for wasting its time dealing with Palestinian lies and for some members adoption of the ‘false Hamas and Islamic Jihad narrative blaming Israel.’ He made clear that the adoption of this narrative encourages terror organizations to continue expanding their attacks on Israel, as has been evident in recent days with rockets fired from Gaza and a rocket fired from Lebanon,” his spokesperson said.
“Erdan pointedly asked why the Council and the United Nations have not immediately condemned these rockets,” the spokesperson added.
During the media stakeout, Erdan said, “All of the events on the Temple Mount have been captured on camera. Photos and video footage showing exactly who is to blame for the chaos and violence are accessible to all, yet when I requested to show this footage to the members of the Council at the debate, I was sadly denied…If I can’t share the footage with the Council, I will share a short video with you all here as I am sure that you will all spread the truth on your platforms.”
After showing the footage, he said, “As you saw, the only ones, the only ones, violating the status quo on the Temple Mount are the Palestinian terror groups inflaming the holy sites. Israel will not allow terrorists to prevent any worshipers – of any faith – to exercise their right to pray, and Israel will not stand idly by as terrorists convert holy sites into battlefields.”
32 Guatemalan Streets, Plazas Named ‘Jerusalem’ Since Embassy Move
It has been four years since Guatemala became the second country to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and at least one of its congressmen, Dr. Fidel Reyes Lee, said it will never move back.
“Politicians change, the president can change, but the people of Guatemala don’t change,” Reyes Lee told The Jerusalem Post on a recent visit to Israel for the Israel Allies Foundation Chairman’s Conference.
He said that to ensure the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem was permanent, the government made it not just a declaration but a law that includes educating the country’s more than seven million children about Israel as part of their school curriculum.
Moreover, he said, since the move, Guatemala named 32 streets and plazas “Jerusalem” in honor of the capital of Israel.
“It was a two-pronged strategy: Education and legislation,” Reyes Lee said. “Israel has always been in the heart of the Guatemalan people – both before and after it became a state.”
“Guatemala was the second country to recognize Israel in 1948, and that is why we waited until the United States moved its embassy,” he continued. “When they did it, we wanted to be second, so we were.”
The embassy moved in May 2018 and is located in the Malha Technology Park.
Reyes Lee admitted that there are those politicians who opposed moving the embassy with some concerns that anti-Israel countries that do business with Guatemala might cease doing so because of the decision. However, he said, there have been no negative results.
He explained that the love of Israel comes from the people’s faith. More than 87% of Guatemalans are Christian, including nearly 40% who are Protestant Christian according to the World Atlas.
Reyes Lee himself is a Christian Zionist and the head of the local Israel allies Caucus. He was also the congressperson to draft the law for moving the embassy.
He said that today he and members of the caucus are focused on fighting antisemitism.
Guatemala is an IHRA observer country. It has been partnering with Yad Vashem since 2017 on an educational project to instruct students about the Holocaust. On January 27, each year – International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – the country hosts a ceremony so that “the Holocaust will never be repeated,” Reyes Lee said.
“The people are with Israel,” he added. “I don’t believe it is possible for that to ever change.”
ADL: Antisemitic Incidents In U.S. Hit All-Time High
A record-high number of antisemitic incidents were recorded across the United States last year, according to the just-released “2021 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” by the Anti-Defamation League.
More than 2,715 instances of Jew-hatred, including assaults, were reported last year – an increase of 34% from 2020 and the highest number of incidents since the ADL began keeping records in 1979.
Every state reported at least two incidents of antisemitism, though New York charted the highest number of cases nationally. More than 400 incidents were recorded in New York in 2021, up from 336 in 2020, with more than 60 percent occurring in the five boroughs of New York City.
California and New Jersey both saw more than 300 cases of antisemitic incidents in 2021. Florida documented nearly 200 cases, while Michigan and Massachusetts had around 110 cases each.
Nearly 400 instances of Jew-hatred were recorded last May during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. November and December also saw significant hikes in antisemitism with 242 and 275 instances, respectively.
Among the other nationwide findings were 88 incidents of assault, including 11 committed with deadly weapons. Some 30 of these attacks occurred in Brooklyn, NY, which the report called a “hotspot of anti-Semitic activity.”
More than 1,770 cases of harassment, up more than 40 percent from 2020 were noted. There were also 853 instances of vandalism, up from 751 in 2020, and 484 incidents were connected to extremist groups, individuals or ideologies.