News Digest — 9/27/19

Rosh Hashanah – 5780

Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the ‘head of the year,’ “is the Jewish New Year.” The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah, literally “day of shouting or blasting.”  It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days specified in Leviticus 23:23-32 that occurs in the early autumn of the year.

Observances include praying in synagogue, personal reflection, and the blowing of the shofar.  

Apples and honey are traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.  In Israel the apple crop in the Galilee this year totaled 100,000 tons.  Israel uses 4,500 tons of honey each year – buying 40% of it before Rosh Hashana.

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Israel’s population tops 9 million, with 74.2% Jews, 21% Arabs and 4% others.

There are 14.8 million Jews in the world.  Eight million do not live in Israel, including 5.7 million who live in the United States.

This year Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday (29th) at sundown and ends Tuesday evening (10/1).

(; timesofisrael,com;


Israeli Policewoman Stabbed By Terrorist In Jerusalem

An Israeli Border Policewoman, 34, was injured lightly in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Thursday (26th).  The incident occurred near the Western Wall in the Old City.

Police were called to the area and the suspect was captured near the Dung Gate.

The injured woman was found near the Damascus Gate, fully conscious with a hand wound.  She was given medical treatment by a paramedic and did not need medical evacuation to the hospital.

Wednesday (25th), a young woman, 21, was wounded in a terrorist knife attack near Modiin, by a 14-year-old Palestinian youth who is now in police custody.

Coincidentally, Jerusalem announced on Tuesday (24th) that it decided to name the staircase leading to the Damascus Gate of the Old City in memory of two Border policewomen who died in recent years while trying to prevent terror attacks in the immediate area.



Polish President: Israel Is Responsible For All Recent Anti-Semitism In Poland

Polish President Andrzei Duda claimed that Israel was responsible for the latest anti-Semitic attacks in Poland in a meeting on Wednesday (25th) with Jewish leaders in the Polish consulate in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, according to the Jewish Insider.

Duda’s claims were in response to Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who in February said that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”  He met with Jewish leaders from several organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Duda said Katz’s comments were a “humiliation,” then suggested that the increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Poland was a reaction to Katz’s comments according to attendees of the meeting with Duda.

Earlier in the year, a diplomatic crisis broke out between Poland and Israel after Poland made it illegal to accuse the country of complicity in Nazi war crimes.  Duda blamed Israel for the crisis.

“I will never agree with statements that Poles as a nation participated in the Holocaust.  It humiliates us and hurts us,” said Duda.

Meanwhile, Graffiti of swastikas and the word “Jude Raus” (Jew, get out) recently appeared overnight on the headquarters of a liberal opposition movement in the Polish capital Warsaw.

The act of vandalism is the latest sign that anti-Semitism persists in the EU member nation, even if it mostly rears its ugly head on the Internet.

“Twenty years ago I would have said that anti-Semitism is on the wane but that’s no longer the case. The old stereotypes are resurfacing,” said Stanislaw Krajewski, a University of Warsaw professor and prominent member of the Jewish community.

“Anti-Semitism is still present in Poland.  It’s part of the overall climate,” he told AFP.

“But it’s most aggressive on the Internet.  It doesn’t come up in my day-to-day life,” added Krajewski, who also co-founded an organization for dialogue with Christians.

Jews first arrived in Poland in the Middle Ages, and for centuries the country was home to the world’s largest Jewish community.

However, the population was decimated during the Nazi occupation.  Three million Polish Jews died in the Holocaust during World War II.

Today there are only about 8,000 to 12,000 Jews living in Poland according to estimates.



Ministry: Tourism In The Holy Land Shatters Records

 Tourism is booming in the Jewish State.

This past week alone saw approximately 82,000 tourists arriving in Israel, and 24,000 more are expected to come before the Jewish New Year holiday Rosh Hashanah, which begins on Sunday night (29th), said the Israeli Tourism Ministry.

By the end of next week, the Tourism Ministry is predicting that over the past year, a record-setting 4.6 million people will have visited Israel.  This is an 18% increase over the 3.9 million visitors the country had seen last year.

  “This is the third consecutive record-breaking year for incoming tourism… These impressive increases are a direct result of the strenuous work and revolutionary changes made by the Ministry of Tourism, with an emphasis on expanding accommodation options in the country and reducing the cost of vacationing in Israel,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

“This year, also, the Tourism Ministry continues to establish itself as a significant contributor to both the economy and employment,” he added.

According to financial estimates given by the ministry, these past 12 months brought in $6.36 billion in tourism revenue compared to $5.4 billion last year.

“The Ministry of Tourism will continue to promote diverse tourism products and brands in order to increase supply and continue the upward trend in incoming tourism,” said Amir Halevi, Director-General of the Tourism Ministry.

“The momentum in the tourism industry creates opportunities, and we are happy with the trend of increasing numbers of entrepreneurs who see tourism as an economic growth-engine, and invest in Israel,” he added.  



Why BDS Fails The 3D Test On Anti-Semitism – Natan Sharansky

→ To distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, 20 years ago I formulated the 3D test for anti-Semitism. The three Ds are demonization, delegitimization, and double standards – the three main tools that anti-Semites employed against Jews throughout history.  This test shows that the same tools are being used today against the collective Jew – the Jewish State.

→ Many who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement may do so out of a naive belief that it is working to achieve a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But the movement takes its cue from the BDS National Committee based in Ramallah in the West Bank. It has one goal, the destruction of the State of Israel – a goal cleverly masked behind the veneer of fighting for human rights.

→ When caricatures against Israeli leaders repeat the worst anti-Semitic caricatures of Czarist Russia or Nazi Germany, depicting Israelis as crucifying Palestinians and portraying them as living in Nazi death camps – that’s demonization.

→ When the legitimacy of the Jewish State is denied and, in the language of some of the founders and key promoters of BDS, there is no place for a Jewish state in the Middle East in any borders  – that is delegitimization. Indeed, the movement’s leader, Omar Baghouti, has said unequivocally: “Most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

→ When the Jewish State is singled out for criticism that not even the vilest dictatorship is subject to, and it is held to standards that not even the most vibrant democracy is judged by – those are double standards.

The writer, a former Prisoner of Zion in the Soviet Union, served as Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.