News Digest — 7/8/21

In First, UN Condemns Anti-Semitic Terrorism

Israel’s mission to the United Nations (UN) marked an achievement for the Jewish state this week when the UN adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that unequivocally condemns terrorist organizations’ use of civilians as human shields.

After many efforts by the UN delegation led by Ambassador Gilad Erdan vis-a-vis the ambassadors of the relevant countries, a decision determining the UN’s strategy to combat terrorism included a number of important items that constitute a significant achievement for Israel.

The Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution titled “The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: seventh review,” calling upon member states to take appropriate measures to address “the new and emerging threats posed by the rise in terrorist attacks on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief.”

Only a month after the IDF’s Operation Guardian of the Walls against Hamas, and at Israel’s request, the UN condemned terrorist organizations’ use of civilians as human shields, a method employed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In addition, in its decision, the UN condemned for the first time anti-Semitic terrorism and recognized its existence.

“This is a very important and significant decision against the background of the wave of anti-Semitism in the world that is taking place these days,” Israel’s mission to the UN stated.

The UN resolution also condemned the use of the Internet as a tool to encourage and recruit terrorist operatives and called on Internet companies to take responsibility, a struggle that Erdan has led since his time as Israel’s Minister of Internal Security and continues to lead in the international arena and UN.

In his address to the General Assembly, Erdan welcomed the decision, saying, “terrorists must not be allowed to use schools, homes, and hospitals and it must be clear that they are responsible for the consequences if they do.”

“For Israel, the fight against terrorism is not a theoretical issue.  Israeli citizens in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon sat in shelters under Hamas terrorist attacks,” he said.

“These terrorist organizations pose a great challenge to countries that comply with international law and try to protect their citizens.”

“The unequivocal stance today by the international community underscores the challenges of asymmetric warfare in which democracies face terrorist organizations,” he stated.

On the UN’s recognition of terrorist acts against religious and ethnic communities, including explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, Erdan said it is “of paramount importance.  We have all witnessed anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish communities around the world, including here in New York, and we must take a hard line against any such action and first show the authorities what the UN expects them to do.”

“Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism, and it should never be explained or justified.  The UN must adopt a policy of zero tolerance for terrorism and zero excuses and explanations for terrorism.  Only in this way can we fight it together,” he declared.



Blackouts Force Iran To Halt Countdown To Israel’s Destruction

“Israel just has a few more hours to exist,” one Twitter user wrote.  “Who has the energy to topple the Zionist entity in this heat?” another wondered.

Another user posted a link to an old blog post suggesting Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency “keeps resetting” the countdown.

On a more serious tone, Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted the Iranian Ambassador to Baku Seyyed Abbas Mousavi as blaming Israel for all that ails the Middle East.

“Our region plunged into war and darkness only after the invention of the Zionist regime.  It won’t take too long until the region, once again, witnesses peace, light, prosperity and coexistence with all nations,” Mousavi wrote on his official Twitter account on Tuesday (6th).

The widespread electricity blackouts that sparked protests across Iran this week and are threatening to plunge the country into chaos, appear to have dealt a blow to the Islamic Republic’s regional plans, as the regime’s official countdown to Israel’s annihilation has also come to a stop.

The countdown, displayed on an electronic billboard in the Heart of Tehran since 2017 predicts the demise of the Jewish state in 2040, some 92 years after its inception.

As the billboard needs electricity to operate, it too, has stopped working.

Amused social media users posted photos of the dark screen, quipping about its effects on Iran’s master plan.



Norway’s Largest Pension Fund Divesting From 16 Companies With “Settlement” Ties

Norway’s largest pension fund, KLP, said on Monday (5th) it would no longer invest in 16 companies, including Alstom, and Motorola because of their links to Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.

According to a statement from the pension fund, the companies, which represent the telecom, banking, energy and construction sectors, all help facilitate Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria and therefore risk being complicit in breaches of international law and against KLP’s ethical guidelines.

“In the KLP assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that the excluded companies are contributing to the abuse of human rights in situations of war and conflict through their links with the Israeli settlements in the occupied [sic] West Bank,” KLP said.

KLP’s move follows a decision by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in May to exclude two companies linked to construction and real estate in the Palestinian territories.

A 2020 United Nations report said it had found 112 companies that have operations linked to the region.

In addition to Alstom and Motorola, the pension fund is divesting from Bezeq, Cellcom Israel, Bank Leumi, Ashtrom, Electra, Paz Oil, Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Delek Group, Energix Renewable Energies, First International Bank of israel, Partner Communications and Altice.



Israel’s First Ever Medical Museum Opens, ‘Most Comprehensive In World’

Israel’s first-ever medically focused museum opened on Sunday (4th) in the coastal city of Hadera, giving visitors a unique glimpse into the worlds of medical tech and related science.

The Israel Museum of Medicine and Science described by Channel 12 as the “most comprehensive in the world,” features six exhibitions aimed at providing visitors with an unparalleled, in-depth view of the human body, with an emphasis on physiology and anatomy.

Genetics, bacteria and viruses, the heart, the lungs, and the brain will all be extensively covered, including innovative 3-D exhibits that the museum says will make visitors feel like they’ve jumped inside the body.”

Visitors can “tour” the human body, with the opportunity to explore giant heart and brain models, as well as see one of the world’s largest DNA coils.

The museum is located on the Technoda Hadera campus, which hosts a number of science and technology education complexes, including a medical simulation unit and advanced astronomy center.

Dr. Gadi Mador, CEO of Technoda, said in a statement that the opening marked a new era in bringing medical education to the Israeli public.

“The coronavirus pandemic, which sparked curiosity about medicine in the minds of visiting children, could be the key to recruiting the next generation of future doctors,” he said. 

“We are excited to launch the first museum entirely dedicated to medicine in the world, a museum with dozens of exhibits on the human body and health including: How does the body work?  Diagnosis, Diseases and Healing,” said Mador.

“We hope the museum will become a world attraction and a site for international visitors, once tourism to Israel is permitted again,” he added.



Swastikas Spray Painted On Graves At Baltimore Jewish Cemetery

Thirteen headstones at a Baltimore, Maryland Jewish cemetery have been vandalized with swastikas.

The damage at the German Hill Road Jewish Cemeteries in Dundalk, Baltimore County was discovered by Deborah R. Weiner, Eric L. Goldstein and Dianne Weiner Feldman who were there conducting research, reported JMore Baltimore Jewish Living.

Weiner, a Baltimore Jewish historian who co-authored with Goldstein “On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore,” told JMore that the group immediately noticed the swastikas painted on graves as they approached the cemetery entrance.

“It’s something I’ve never seen in all my years of cemetery-going,” she said.  “It was shocking at first but given the climate that we’ve been in for the last few years, it’s not really surprising.”

The defacement would not have happened five or six years ago, she felt.  “People seem to feel more license to do things like that now.”

The German Hill grounds are home to multiple cemeteries for 10 Baltimore congregations.

“Hearing the news of swastikas being drawn on cemetery headstones was both despicable and repulsive,” said Jewish Federation of Baltimore President Marc B. Terrill in a statement.  

“Fortunately, we have the infrastructure… to respond quickly and provide dignity for the memory of our loved ones.”

He added, “This situation also underscores that our fight against hate and anti-Semitism remains critical..  There is much work to do and our network of agencies are actively engaged in that fight.”

On Monday morning (5th), the cemetery caretaker cleaned the anti-Semitic graffiti from the 13 headstones.  The incident was reported to the Baltimore Police department.

The cemetery’s gates have also been temporarily locked.

The Baltimore Jewish Council is not certain if the defacement was random vandalism or the work of a neo-Nazi group.

“Whatever it is, it’s an act of anti-Semitism,” said the Council’s executive director Howard Libit in an interview with JMore.  “It’s a despicable act of hate that cannot be tolerated.  We have to all stand together against hate.  We have a community that generally respects each other, and fortunately this kind of thing is rare.  Hopefully we will continue to educate people that this is not acceptable.”

The Council is sending a report to the ADL, and the police will likely forward a report to the FBI.