News Digest — 7/26/21

Israelis Murdered At 1972 Munich Olympics Honored In Moment Of Silence In Tokyo

Israeli Olympic team members who were slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics were remembered with a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday (23rd).

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the gesture, which represents the first time that their murders have been publicly recognized at the world’s sports competition.

“I welcome this important and historic moment.  May their memory be blessed,” he tweeted.

The families of the 11 killed have been asking the International Olympic Committee for this gesture for decades, but until now have been turned down.

“We, the Olympic community, also remember all the Olympians and members of our community who have so sadly left us, in particular, we remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic games,” said an announcer during the opening ceremony, reported Reuters.

“One group still holds a strong place in all our memories and stands for all those we have lost at the games – the members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972,” the announcer added as the stadium darkened and soft blue light illuminated parts of the arena.

In a statement, widows Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, who watched the ceremony in the stadium along with members of the other families, said: “Justice has finally been done for the husbands, fathers, and sons who were murdered in Munich.”

On September 5, 1972, Palestinian gunmen from the Black September terror group took members of the Israeli team hostage at the athletes’ village.  Eleven Israelis and one German policeman were eventually killed.

Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, Chili Tropper, called the moment an “historic justice.”

“The Tokyo Olympics have just opened, but they are already an historic Olympics – after 49 years on the main stage, at the opening ceremony, the 11 heroes, the victims of the Munich Olympics 1972, were mentioned,” he said.  “Better late than never.”



IDF Strikes Hamas Targets In Retaliation For Incendiary Balloons

After three weeks of quiet, Israeli fighter jets struck Hamas targets in response to the launching of incendiary balloons on Sunday (25th), the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced.

The jets struck several buildings in a Hamas military base as well as infrastructure and utilities used for the group’s activities.  The base was “adjacent to civilian sites, including a school,” the statement said.

The strikes were carried out in response to the launching of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory that sparked at least three fires in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel.

“The IDF will respond strongly to the continuation of terrorist attempts from the Gaza Strip,” the military said.

During the strikes, machine guns were fired towards the jets causing damage to a building in the Eshkol Regional Council.  There were no injuries.

Hamas spokesman Hazen Qassem was quoted by Palestinian Maan News Agency as saying that the strikes were a “failed attempt by Israel to show its impotent strength and restore the image which was shaken by the Battle of Saif al Quds.”

Stressing that Hamas “is ready to deal with all options” and that the group “will not allow the occupation to impose its equations,” Qassem added that the strikes “will not stop the resistance of the Palestinian people to recover their rights to their land and sanctities.  They will continue their legitimate struggle to live in freedom and dignity on Palestinian land.”

Hamas has repeatedly warned that it would restart hostilities over any incidents in Jerusalem while Israel has vowed that incendiary balloons would be treated like rocket attacks towards Israel communities.

Since the end of Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, dozens of incendiary and explosive balloons have been launched towards southern Israel.  In return, the Israeli army has struck Hamas targets in Gaza.

Several hours earlier the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian announced that Israel would restrict the Gaza fishing zone from 12 to 6 nautical miles.

“The decision was made following the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, which constitutes a violation of Israeli sovereignty,” read a statement released by COGAT, adding that “The decision will go into immediate effect and be in place until further notice.”

Prior to the fighting between Israel and Hamas in May, the fishing zone had been extended to 15 nautical miles.

“Hamas is responsible for all activities within the Gaza Strip directed towards the State of Israel, and it will therefore bear the consequences for the violence committed against the citizens of the State of Israel,” COGAT said.



Germany To Boycott Israel-Bashing Durban Conference

A German diplomatic source confirmed on Sunday (25th) a report that Berlin will boycott a UN event in September marking the 20th anniversary of the controversial World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa.

The upcoming UN-sponsored Durban IV conference, a one-day event, is the fourth follow-up on the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance first held in 2001 in the South African city.

That original conference was hijacked by Palestinian supporters and radical non-governmental organizations, becoming a launching pad for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.  The US walked out of the conference when delegates sought to condemn Israel as an apartheid state.

 Pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

The conference ended with bitter recriminations, which were quickly overshadowed by Al-Qaeda’s September 11 attacks two days later.

Although follow-up conferences in 2009 and 2011 were held in Geneva and New York City respectively, they’re collectively known as the Durban conferences.  They were boycotted by 9 and 14 countries respectively.

Libya, then ruled by Col. Muammar Qadaffi, chaired the Durban II planning committee while then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, delivered its opening remarks.  A number of delegates walked out after he branded Israel as “a racist state.”

Germany is now the 10th country to boycott Durban IV, joining Israel, the US, UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria.

France, which boycotted Durban III, has not yet announced its position, to the worry of French Jews.  Francis Kalifat, head of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, called on Paris to boycott Durban IV.

Denouncing the moral equivalence drawn between Israel and Nazi Germany at previous Durban gatherings, Kalifat said, “The perversity of this equation is not only in the obsessive demonization of Israel.  It lies in the fact that by this equivalence it in a way absolves the Nazis.  The Durban Conference in 2001 was the most glaring example of this anti-Semitic delirium,” Kalifat said in a statement.

He went on to urge France “not to lose its soul” by “participating in this masquerade.”



Israel Officially Launched Direct Flights To Morocco

Direct flights between Israel and Morocco began Sunday (25th), seven months after the two countries officially signed an agreement to normalize relations.

El Al and Israir both launched their first flights to Marrakesh’s Menara Airport on Sunday (25th) with a ceremony marking the historic flights.

Jerusalem and Rabat agreed to normalize relations last December following the Abraham Accords.  The agreement followed similar ones with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

On December 22, the first-ever flight between the two countries carried an American and Israeli delegation led by then-White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.  Sunday’s flights marked the beginning of normal air travel for commercial passengers.

Flights to Marrakesh’s Menara Airport take about five and a half hours and start at $500 per ticket.  El Al and Israir will each offer three flights per week.

Arkia is scheduled to launch flights between Tel Aviv and Marrakesh on August 3, and Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s official carrier, will also begin flights to Israel in the coming month.

Many Israelis are looking forward to visiting what was once an important Jewish center.  More than 300,000 Jews emigrated from Morocco to Israel between 1948 and 1964 and there are now a million Israelis of Moroccan heritage.  An estimated 3,000 Jews live in Morocco today.



To Keep Away Anti-Semites, US Synagogue Takes Different Approach

The recent spike in anti-Semitism across the United States has led to Jewish communities taking matters into their own hands.

Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob in Albany, New York, has requested local authorities for permission to erect an 8-foot high fence around its property on Whitehall Road to protect its members from assaults.

Arthur Brenner, the congregation’s president, said the fence was one of several security upgrades the community had decided on.

“The security project, including the fence, is sadly a necessity for our community’s protection in these increasingly challenging times,” he said in an emailed statement.

The congregation had brought forth the idea to the city’s Planning Department last year.  The proposal includes a decorative metal fence with brick pillars along Whitehall Road, with a gate at the front entrance, all the while reducing the visual impact to prevent complaints from those living in the area. 

The deadly shooting that took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018, was a turning point for many congregations, including Beth Abraham-Jacob, which has since hired armed security for every large community event.