News Digest — 5/1/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Military Insignia Have Replaced The Yellow Stars – IDF Chief Of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi

We, the commanders and soldiers of the IDF – past, present and future – comprise the defensive forces that the 6 million fallen prayed for.

Eighty years have passed since World War II began, the biggest war of the modern era, a war that the brutal Nazi ideology made into the most murderous and despicable in human history.  Families were uprooted from their homes, children were separated from their parents, the murder of Jews became routine, and a systematic plan of killing across an entire continent threatened to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth and eradicate its unique roots.

But the people, whose fate had apparently been decreed, managed to survive.  More than that in the most troubled times, it sent Jewish soldiers to fight in the Allied armed forces or in the Jewish Brigades against the Nazi army, while ghetto warriors and partisans fought for their lives and their freedom bare-handed.  Many others fought a different, equally difficult battle to maintain their humanity. How they clung to their Jewish identity and to life with what little strength they had left is still an outstanding example for us. The survivors made their way to the land of Israel and began their lives anew here.

If we could hear the voices of those of our people who fell victim to hatred and anti-Semitism, we would hear them asking one thing of us – that we never be dependent on favors from anyone else.  We, the commanders and soldiers of the IDF – past, present and future – comprise the defense forces that they prayed for on their way to the crematoria. For their sake, we make a commitment to continue telling their story.  As the last generation privileged to hear their testimony first-hand, we will preserve every extant drawing and every diary page that survived, so their testimony can continue to echo for future generations. We will continue to fight for the nation’s security to allow it to remain independent and flourish so the generations to come can live here in comfort and security.

The yellow stars worn on lapels have been replaced by combat insignia, and a Star of David flies proudly on the flag of an independent and defended Israel.

With one hand we salute the fallen, while we make a fist with the other, prepared to beat down every threat.

May the memory of the 6 million be a blessing.



IDF Deploys More Iron Dome Systems

Galei Tzahal reports the IDF deployed additional Iron Dome batteries throughout Israel this week.

According to the report, the deployment was carried out as preparation for a possible security escalation during Remembrance Day and Independence Day, and to prevent disruption of the Eurovision Song Contest that Israel is scheduled to host starting May 14th.

Hamas Islamic Movement elements already threatened to launch rockets into Israeli territory, especially while the European culture competition is taking place in Tel Aviv.

On Monday night (4/29), after several weeks of quiet, the IDF announced a rocket had been fired from Gaza that fell off the coast of Ashdod, causing no casualties or damage.

IDF Spokesman Ronen Manalis said the Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket fire aimed at disrupting the agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Manalis reported that the shooting was carried out from the Al-Atatra neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip.  According to the IDF Spokesman, the Islamic Jihad has recently been trying to worsen the situation by carrying out attacks “without leaving a signature.”

Interestingly, the IDF Spokesman personally identified the individual Islamic Jihad operative believed responsible for the launch and escalation: Northern District Chief Baha Abu Al-Ata.  Army willingness to release such valuable intelligence may indicate an implied threat on Abu al-Ata’s life.

The IDF Spokesman also said that despite attempts in Gaza to give the appearance of coordination between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in practice there is no such coordination, and the Jihad does not obey the dictates of Hamas.  Nevertheless, the IDF views the Hamas Islamic Movement as the sovereign in the Gaza Strip.



Israel To UN: Bible Is Jewish Deed To The Land Of Israel – Tovah Lazaroff

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council on Monday (4/29) that Jewish rights to the Land of Israel depend on four pillars: the Bible, history, legality, and the pursuit of international peace and security.  “God gave the land to the people of Israel in Genesis, when He made a covenant with Abraham,” said Danon.  “This is our deed to our land.” Danon added that “The Quran itself accepts the divine deed of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.”

On the issue of security, he noted that the PLO was established in 1964, three years prior to the Six-Day War in 1967.  “What did they need to liberate before 1967? In 1964, not a single settlement existed in Judea and Samaria, and our right to exist was still rejected,” he said.

Danon listed the peace plans the Arabs had rejected in 1937, 1947, 1948, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008.  And the Palestinians have already rejected the anticipated U.S. peace plan. “There should be no reward for rejectionism,” he said.



13% Increase In Violent Anti-Semitic Attacks Worldwide In 2018

Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), spoke about the rise in all forms of anti-Semitism at the release of the 2018 Annual Report on Anti-Semitism Worldwide at the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University.

“If I have to summarize in one sentence the situation concerning anti-Semitism in 2018 and the beginning of 2019, I would say it is the increasing sense of emergency among Jews in many countries around the world,” Dr. Kantor said.

“Anti-Semitism has recently progressed to the point of calling into question the very continuation of Jewish life in many parts of the world.  As we saw with the second mass-shooting of a synagogue in the US, many parts of the world that were previously regarded as safe no longer are.”

“Additionally, as we recently witnessed with the disgraceful cartoon in The New York Times, anti-Semitism has entered gradually into the public discourse.  Threats, harassment, and insults have become more violent, inciting to even more physical violence against Jews.  It feels like almost every taboo relating to Jews, Judaism and Jewish life has been broken,”

In 2018, we witnessed the largest number of Jews murdered in a single year in decades.

The number of the most severe and violent incidents monitored worldwide by the Kantor Center was close to 400 – representing a 13% increase from last year.

In Western European countries, the situation is the worst – specifically in Germany where there was a 70% increase in violent anti-Semitism.

The countries with the highest number of major violent cases are the US, with over 100 cases, the UK with 68, France and Germany with 35 cases each, and Canada with 20 reported cases involving violence against Jews.

“It is now clear that anti-Semitism is no longer limited to the far-left, far-right and the radical Islamist’s triangle – it has become mainstream and often accepted by civil society,” Dr. Knator continued.  “It represents a clear danger not only to Jews but to society as a whole. Anti-Semitism is the common denominator that unites extremists on the political spectrum, as part of their politics of intolerance that puts us all in danger.”

“With the political center becoming more fragile, these extremist movements and groups seek to gain political power by attacking the foundations of democratic societies,” Dr. Kantor added.



In 1978 Letter, US-Based Neo-Nazis Hope JNF Will Plant ‘Lots Of Trees So Jews Can Hang’ – Dan Lavie

In 1978, Hanoch Sigmund, then-head of an umbrella organization representing Jews from central Europe, sent a letter to Jewish communities across the globe, seeking donations to plant trees in Israel.  The letter made its way to a neo-Nazi group in the US, which sent a particularly nasty response – in German – to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The letter was recently discovered by Sigmund’s grandson, Avi Amir.

“We hope you will plant lots of trees, so there will be room to hang all the Jews,” the letter said.

“We’ve heard that you Jews and other professional liars like you want to plant a forest on the hills of Jerusalem in memory of the members of your race who were supposedly murdered by us.  We don’t want to get into the lies you and the rest of the criminals are spreading, and soon we will beat the truth out of all the members of your race who are still alive in West Germany. We recommend that you plant a forest big enough – because when we are done restoring order in West Germany, we will come visit and hang you,” the letter states.

JNF Chairman Daniel Atar, who learned of the letter this week, said, “Unfortunately, only this week we were once again exposed to the fact that since this letter was written, anti-Semitism still exists and even leads to the murder of Jews. “

“Things are the same as they were then – the answer to anti-Semitism is to keep strengthening and developing the State of Israel.”

“The JNF works both to strengthen Israel and encourage aliyah, and ongoing anti-Semitism demands that we work with determination and do even more to encourage aliyah.  The unequivocal answer to the letter from the neo-Nazi activists is the millions of Jews who live in the flourishing Jewish state today,” Atar said.