News Digest — 9/6/19

US Nixes Security Council Statement That Fails To Condemn Hezbollah

The US on Thursday (5th) blocked a UN Security Council statement on tensions between Israel and Hezbollah that did not single out violence by the Lebanese terror group, forcing the text to be scrapped, according to diplomatic sources.

In the first version of the six-point text, seen by AFP, council members expressed “deep concern at the recent incidents” during a flare-up between the sides across the “Blue Line” border.

The draft, drawn up by France, added that “members of the security council condemned all violations of the Blue Line, both by air and ground, and strongly calls on all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities.”

According to diplomats, Washington blocked the statement twice, calling for Hezbollah to be specifically condemned in the text.

The US said it was impossible for it to back any statement putting Israel’s right to self-determination on an equal footing with Hezbollah, which it considers a terror organization, a diplomat explained.

Several other members of the security council objected to the US stance, and the text was eventually abandoned.

Any statement by the council must be backed by all 15 members.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006, and have indicated they do not want to go to war again.  However, that appeared to be their course in recent days.

Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hezbollah, often aided by the Lebanese Armed Forces, maintains an active presence in southern Lebanon of both fighters and weaponry despite the prohibition laid out in UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war.

UN Resolution 1701 calls for all armed groups, with the exception of the Lebanese military, to be removed from southern Lebanon in the area south of the country’s Litani River.



Erdogan Says Turkey Should Have Nuclear Weapons Like Israel

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday (4th) that it was unacceptable that Turkey was barred from having nuclear weapons while other nations in the region have them.

“Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two, but they tell us we can’t have them.  This I cannot accept,” the Reuters news agency quoted him as telling his ruling AK Party-members in the eastern city of Sivas.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” Erdogan said, even though most developed nations do not have nuclear weapons.

Under international treaties only the US, Russia, the UK, France and China could have nuclear weapons.  India, Pakistan and North Korea later developed them too. South Africa had several atomic bombs but dismantled them when it became a democracy.

Israel is also believed to have nuclear weapons, a fact alluded to by Erdogan.

“We have Israel nearby, as almost-neighbors.  They scare other nations by possessing these. No one can touch them.”

While foreign sources have estimated that Israel has an arsenal of dozens to hundreds of nuclear weapons, the Jewish State has neither publicly confirmed nor denied such reports in keeping with its policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity.

Erdogan stopped short of saying Turkey would begin developing nuclear weapons, but seemed to rail against the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which Turkey signed in 1980.  Turkey also signed the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations for any purpose. 



2 Weeks After Surviving Bombing, Dvir Shnerb Becomes A Medic

An Israeli teen who was wounded in an Arab terror attack last month received his EMT certification on Thursday (5th), only days after being released from the hospital.

Dvir Shnerb, 19, was seriously injured in the August 23 attack, which killed his sister Rina, 17, and injured his father.  The family from Lod,were hiking at the Ein Bubin spring near the Israeli town of Dolev in Samaria, east of Modiin, when an explosive device detonated in their path.

Shnerb received notice of the certification in Tel Aviv from Magen David Adom only hours after being released from the hospital on Tuesday (3rd).

“Today we are finishing a course which we all began for one reason – the desire to save lives,” Dvir said.  “We never really think about who our patients are, what their lives have been like until now, or what their lives will be like after.  But this week I learned that saving lives is not only saving who our patients were, but it’s also saving their future.”

MDA dedicated Shnerb’s training cohort in Rina’s memory.

“Rina saved lives in her own way,” said her brother.  “She saved souls by teaching, by kindness and by volunteering.”

Attending the ceremony was senior EMT Shlomo Perel, Shnerb’s instructor and, ironically the first EMT to respond to the scene of the bombing on August 23.



Israel, Jewish Organizations Provide Disaster Relief To Storm-Stricken Bahamas

 Several Jewish and Israeli humanitarian groups are providing aid or relief teams to the Bahamas following the catastrophic devastation unleashed by Hurricane Dorian.

The hurricane struck the Bahamas as a powerful Category 5 storm on Sunday (1st) with wind gusts up to 220 miles per hour and a 23-foot storm surge, then stalled for two days over the Grand Bahama and Abaco islands.  It was the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the nation’s history.

So far, 20 people are believed to have been killed and up to 60,000 people may be in dire need of food relief, according to the World Food Program.  The Red Cross said more than 13,000 houses – or 45% of the homes on the islands – are believed to have been destroyed.

“We can expect more deaths to be recorded,” said Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.  “Our priority is search, rescue and recovery,”

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced that it will provide emergency medical supplies  and is raising funds for other critical needs, including recovery and reconstruction initiatives.

“As our hearts go out to the people of the Bahamas, we are working hard to help them heal in the face of unprecedented loss and destruction,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer.  “Our efforts today in providing a Jewish response to this disaster will ensure a better tomorrow for those facing despair,” he added.

Similarly, B’nai B’rith International is accepting donations to its disaster-relief fund to assist those impacted by the hurricane.

The NGO, IsraAID announced that it is sending an emergency response team to the Bahamas as well.

IsraAID’s Emergency Response team in the Bahamas will distribute urgent relief supplies, offer psychological help, first aid, and deploy water filters to restore access to drinking water, while conducting further needs assessments in affected communities,” the group said.

Dorian is expected to affect certain southeastern coastal areas of the United States in the coming days before weakening and heading out to sea.



NYPD: Over Half Of New York City Hate Crimes In 2019 Were Anti-Semitic

More than half the hate crimes reported in New York City during the first eight months of the year were of an anti-Semitic nature, according to NYC Police Department officials, as reported by CNN.

Most of the reported incidents were said to be acts of vandalism: graffiti or swastikas scrawled on synagogues and other locations, said New York City Chief of Detectives Dremot Shea in the CNN report.  The review covers incidents through September 1, said the network.

Most of the incidents “do not involve personal action and assault,” said Shea, though acknowledging that there were reports of assaults.

“As a whole, anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City are up 63% this year as compared to last year,” according to officials cited in the CNN report.

“The NYPD received 176 complaints of hate crimes from January to May 19, an 83% increase in all hate crimes compared to the same period in 2018,” said the Coordination Forum for Countering anti-Semitism, sourcing back then from the Wall Street Journal.

After the New York City Council created an office for hate crime prevention to handle the growing problem, the Forum says, “they quickly realized that a majority of reported hate crimes are committed against Jews.”

Just last week, a 63-year-old Jewish man was out for his morning walk in Crown Heights when a man threw a massive brick at his face,” reported Bklyner, a Brooklyn news outlet.

NYPD statistics show that anti-Semitic incidents have been taking place particularly in areas that are home to many Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.  The chief of detectives noted a series of attacks in Brooklyn in which victims were assaulted on their way to Jewish morning religious services, said CNN.

Other incidents included the discovery of a Post-it note with the phrase “Hitler is coming” written on it and placed on a billboard display in front of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn in June, police said, as cited in the CNN report.