News Digest — 4/6/22

Muslims Riot In Jerusalem For 4th Night, 6 Arrested

Jerusalem Police confronted Muslim rioters at the Damascus Gate at the entrance to the Old City on Tuesday night (5th) and arrested 6 suspects for throwing rocks and other objects at police forces.

The police stated that again, “while many police officers worked to enable many to mark the month of Ramadan and reach the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount safely, riots began in the area of Sultan Suleiman Street after dozens of rioters shot fireworks and threw bottles and rocks at officers.”

The six suspects were arrested for disorderly conduct and throwing deadly objects at officers.  Further arrests of rioters who took part in the violence are expected.

The police again underscored that the rioters were only a “handful of those who chose to act out by rioting and   violent activity, while the vast majority wanted to celebrate Ramadan in peace and security while maintaining freedom of worship.”

“We will not allow the inciting and violent margins to disrupt order.  We call on the public to legally mark the month of Ramadan, obey the instructions of the police and avoid disturbance of any kind,” the police stated.

Security tensions in Israel are high, especially at the Damascus Gate area, after a series of terror attacks in the Jerusalem area, the murder of four Israelis in Beersheba, another two in Hadera by Islamists terrorists, and the latest attack in Bnei Brak that left five dead, and during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which usually spells an uptick in Muslim violence and acts of terrorism in Israel.

The country’s security establishment is bracing for violence, especially as Ramadan coincides with Passover and following the first anniversary of the Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, which was launched by the IDF following a Hamas rocket attack on Jerusalem that began at the height of Ramadan.

The Jewish Passover begins at sundown on Friday, April 15th and ends Saturday, 23rd at sundown.



Germany Gets Approval For Israel’s Arrow-3 Missile Defense System

Germany has received approval from Israel and the United States to purchase the Arrow-3 missile defense system, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

German legislators have in the past pushed for Berlin to buy Israel’s Iron Dome system to ward off aerial threats, but on Monday (4th) the head of the German Air Force, Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, told the Post that the Arrow-3 is the most relevant system for the threats facing the European nation.

“The Iron Dome is used for short-range threats, and we have quite a capable industry back home, and we will procure systems for that,” Gerhartz said.  “And for higher interceptors, we have the Patriot weapons system that we will modernize.  But if it means threats at a range of 9,320 miles and exo-atmospheric, we don’t have anything, and that is why we had a close look at the Arrow-3 and we are really interested in the system.”

The purchase of the system, which has been pushed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, “starts with the approval of Israel and the United States – and they gave us the approval,” Gerhartz said.  “Now we have to talk about the details”.

Should Germany buy the system, it would mark the first time that the Arrow-3, one of Israel’s most advanced air defense systems, which is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes of 62 miles and has a reported range of up to 1,490 miles, has been sold to another country.

Russia has stationed Iskander missiles in locations that could reach many European cities like Berlin.  The missiles that have been used in Ukraine fly to high to be destroyed by conventional air defense systems.

“We must all prepare ourselves for the fact that we have a neighbor that is currently prepared to use force to assert its interests,  That’s why we have to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Scholz said in an interview with German television last week.

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Germany increased its defense budget to 2% of the GDP and said it would set up a special E100 billion fund to swiftly upgrade its armed forces.

According to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, the procurement of the system, which is still under development, will cost at least E2 billion.  The report said that it would be operational by 2025 and its Green Pine radar would be set up at three locations in Germany from where data would then be sent to NATO Air Force Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem, Germany.



French Presidential Election Rocked By Tragic Death Of Jewish Man

The circumstances of the death of Jeremy Cohen, a 31-year-old French Jew who died after being hit by a tram while running away from a mob of Muslim attackers, has become a hot-button issue in the final stretch of the presidential race in France.

Cohen, an observant Jew who wore a kippah, was attacked in February by a group of Muslim immigrants in the town of Bobigny, near Paris.  He reportedly did not notice the incoming tram when trying to escape his attackers.  Cohen was evacuated to a nearby hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

The police originally deemed his death an accident, but footage of the assault that emerged later suggests it  was  the result of an anti-Semitic attack.  The footage was obtained by Cohen’s brother, Rafael, who launched a private investigation into the matter.  In the wake of the video, Jewish and right-wing media outlets in France accused the police and authorities of trying to downplay the affair.  Evidence gathered by the Cohen family has prompted law enforcement to launch another investigation.

The Jewish presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who has campaigned on the need to address violence by Arab and Muslim immigrants, tweeted, “Why is it that no media outlet, politician, or parliament member speaks about the death of Jeremu Cohen?”

Marine le Pen, far-right presidential candidate and head of the National Rally party, tweeted, “What was presented as an accident could be an anti-Semitic murder.”

French Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib, a member of the lower house of parliament National Assembly, called the incident “heartbreaking” and said he had urged French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to address the matter immediately.

Darmanin “has promised me that the authorities are taking this case very seriously and that it is under the examination of the Justice Ministry,” Habib said, adding that “with only a week remaining until the first round of the presidential election, it seems like a new case of covert anti-Semitism is gaining momentum.”

Habib also pointed out that Cohen’s death occurred around the anniversary of the murder of French Jewish teacher Sarah Halimi, who was beaten and thrown to her death off her balcony by a Muslim neighbor in 2017, while the police, who were nearby, did not act to save her.

Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore was never prosecuted as the court ruled he had suffered a psychotic episode during the attack caused by cannabis use.

The murder took place shortly before the presidential election runoff between Emanuel Macron and Le Pen.  Many in the French Jewish community said the brutal attack was kept quiet so as not to increase Le Pen’s chances of winning.     



May Dead ‘Zionist’ Bodies’ Be Eaten By Rats: Not Hate Speech Says Twitter

A prominent Lebanese journalist who called for the mass slaughter of Zionists and for their dead bodies to be consumed by rats in the streets did not violate Twitter’s hate-speech policy, according to an Israeli user who reported the remarks.

“Scatter the bodies of the Zionists everywhere, so it is not said that the rats are hungry in Palestine,” Lebanon 24 journalist Enass Karimeh wrote on Twitter last week.

“May God strengthen your fight,” she added alongside an emoji of a Palestinian flag.

Ohad Merlin, a pro-Israel advocate and social media influencer, wrote on Twitter that he had raised concerns about the tweet’s hateful content but was then informed that Karimeh’s remarks fall into the realm of acceptable speech on the platform.

“Hello@Twitter,” Merlin tweeted, including a screenshot and translation of Karimeh’s tweet.

“This verified user just called to scatter me and my friends’ dead bodies so that rats would eat them.  I tried reporteing the tweet along with a few friends, but your kind-hearted team held that it does not violate terms of use.  So what exactly ARE your terms of use?”

Merlin’s observation that the user is verified on Twitter is significant.  The blue checkmark on a user’s profile designating that Twitter confirmed the true identity of the account holder indicates that the person is important enough that the social media site has taken steps to ensure the account is legitimate.

For example, celebrities have a blue checkmark next to their names so fans aren’t fooled into believing an impostor profile is really the public figure it purports to represent.  The fact that Karimeh is verified on Twitter means that she has made significant contributions to the media world, at least in her native Lebanon.

Twitter’s apparent refusal to intervene when it comes to speech that is hateful to Zionists, Israelis, and Jews calls to mind a recent report about another social media giant’s refusal to acknowledge anti-Semitic content.

Hassan Khaled, an Egyptian-born consultant whose employment firm was retained by YouTube to screen Arabic-language content on the platform, said he was forced out of his job after raising the alarm about videos promoting terror and anti-Semitism.



New Spanish Monument Pays Tribute To Jews Expelled In 1492

A new monument has been unveiled in Murcia that pays tribute to the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.

The monument, “El Abrazo,” was sculpted by Mexican artist Jose Sacal and had its public debut in Cartagena, Cope news reported.

The sculpture was sponsored by the Hispano-Jewish Foundation and the Jose Sacal Foundation of Mexico.  The inauguration ceremony was attended by the President of the Region of Murcia, Fernando Lopez Miras.

Lopez Miras called it a “symbol of union, of shared heritage and an invitation to move forward together.”

The sculpture was chosen to be placed in Cartagena because as a port city it was the only maritime route of the expulsion of Sephardi Jews.

Lopez Miras said that the statue is in honor of “all those Jews who were forced to leave their homes and their life behind, but who never gave up.”

“Cartagena is a port of Cultures, because Spain is the sum of many of them, of all those who made this city, this region and our country great,” Lopez Miras said.

He also said that today’s Murcia is “a land of solidarity and a place of welcome,” and noted “that they are “opening their homes to thousands of people fleeing from Ukraine.”

Earlier in the year, Lorca Synagogue in Lorca, in the region of Murcia, was noted as one of three ancient synagogues to be unearthed in Spanish towns.

The remainder of the synagogue was originally discovered in 2003 during the building of a hotel, tucked away in a medieval fortress.

The structure is the only known synagogue from the time between the 9th and 15th centuries to have been found with an intact bimah and Torah Ark.



Sea Of Galilee Nears Maximum Capacity For First Time In 30 Years

The Sea of Galilee on Tuesday (5th) neared its upper red line threshold, sitting only 13 inches below its maximum capacity – which it has not reached in 30 years.

The water level is now 13 inches below the upper red line, or 686 feet below sea level.  The upper red line is  685 feet below sea level.  The lake – the Sea of Galilee is actually a lake – is now 13 feet above the lower red line, the level at which water quality declines and causes damage to the ecological balance.

The water levels of the Sea of Galilee have seen dramatic highs and perilous lows in recent years.  Only six years ago, the situation was extremely bleak.

On April 4, 2016, the lake level was 11 feet lower than today.  The level measured at that time was 697 feet below the upper red line.

The Sea of Galilee is Israel’s largest freshwater lake, and while it is no longer used as the main source of drinking water, it is still seen as a significant gauge of seasonal rainfall.