Israel News

News Digest — 9/24/21

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

On This Day: The Conclusion Of Operation Magic Carpet

On September 24, 1950, Operation Magic Carpet concluded with its final flights of two planes carrying 177 Yemenite Jews to Israel’s Lod Airport.

During this operation, also referred to as “Operation Kanfei Nesharim” (On the Wings of Eagles) – nearly 50,000 Yemenite Jews were brought to Israel.  The name refers to the passage in Exodus “and I will transport you on eagle’s wings and bring you to Me…”

The operation was done via a joint venture of the Israeli government, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Agency.

It began in June of 1949 and ended on September 24, 1950.  The original plan was to gradually bring roughly 20,000 people, but rumors regarding the venture spread quickly, speeding the operation.

Jews living in hundreds of towns and villages traveled towards Aden, today the capital of Yemen, with some walking for three weeks to complete the journey.

Some 380 flights carried the olim to Israel, prompted by a pogrom in the British colony of Aden following the 1947 UN Partition Plan.  This led to the deaths of at least 82 Jews and destroyed Jewish homes.

Upon arrival, the Yemenite Jews were sent to tent camps and then moved to agricultural villages across the country.

Several thousand Jews remained in Yemen, but most left throughout the following years.  Today, the majority of Yemenite Jews live in Israel.



Over 1,000 Jews Ascended Temple Mount Thursday

1,981 Jews have ascended the Temple Mount over the Sukkot holiday so far, 1,026 of whom visited the holy site Thursday (23rd).

Visitors reported that prayers were held among the groups visiting there.

Many rabbis were among the visitors, including hundreds of residents of the Samaria community of Har Bracha, led by Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Gur Galon. “We make a pilgrimage to the closest place possible to where the Holy Temple once stood,” said Rabbi Galon.

He said: “The pilgrimage of the festival is to the place of the Holy Temple, as close as you can get.  That is our goal.  We always do the best we can.  And here is the place where we can get closest to it,”

“It’s a wonderful feeling. The heart is filled with good vibes, with prayer and anticipation,” he added.  “Try it. Taste it and see that God is good.  What a beautiful thing it is to ascend, to draw near, to rejoice in the joy of Israeli sovereignty, to rejoice in the progress of redemption.  And with God’s help, the Temple will soon be built in our days.”



US House Votes Overwhelmingly In Favor Of Iron Dome Funding, Trounces Squad

The House Democratic leadership on Tuesday (21st) nixed funding for the Iron Dome defense system from its government spending and debt ceiling hike bill after a group of progressive lawmakers threatened to block the legislation unless the military aid was withdrawn.

“It’s very important to point out to pro-Palestinian congress members, that while Iron Dome probably saves hundreds of Israeli lives, it saves thousands of Palestinian lives also,” former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren stated to the press after the initial decision on Tuesday (21st) to block the funding.  He – and other analysts – explained that without the Iron Dome to protect Israeli civilians from rocket barrages from Gaza, the IDF would be forced to enter the Strip, resulting in huge loss of life among the local Palestinians.  

On Thursday (23rd), however, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly – 420 to 9 – in favor of a stand-alone bill to send $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome.  The bill is now headed to the Senate.

“The Iron Dome system was co-developed by the United States and Israel and has saved thousands of lives.  Passage of this bill reflects a great unity in Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis for Israel’s security.

“Assistance to Israel is vital because Israel’s security is imperative for America’s security.  I urge a strong bipartisan vote for the security of the people of Israel and for this legislation,” Speaker Pelosi said.

“Thank you to the members of the US House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, for the overwhelming support for Israel and for the commitment to its security,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated after the vote.

“Whoever tried to challenge this support received an unequivocal answer today.  The people of Israel thank the American people and their representatives for their steadfast friendship,” he added.  



Abbas To Threaten Dissolution Of PA If No State Formed

Azzam al-Ahmad, one of the senior leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah, said on Thursday (23rd) that the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UN General Assembly on Friday (24th) “will upset the enemies of the Palestinian people.”

Speaking in an interview with official PA television, Ahmad said that in his speech, Abbas would express very strong views and emphasize an important point, namely the establishment of a Palestinian state or the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.

Riyad Mansour, the PA representative at the UN, noted that Abbas’ speech would pave the way for a solution to the Palestinian issue based on international law, and the decisions of international institutions.

In an interview with Voice of Palestine radio, Mansour said that what is now required of the international community is to implement in practice the decisions regarding the Palestinian issue and bring to justice the “perpetrators of crimes” against the Palestinian people.



Ukraine Passes Legislation Effectively Outlawing Anti-Semitism

Ukraine’s parliament passed a law Wednesday (22nd) defining anti-Semitism and banning it in the country.  The bill was approved by 283 votes, pending approval by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to enter it into law.

“The lack of a clear definition of anti-Semitism in the Ukrainian legislation does not allow for the proper classification of crimes committed on its basis,” the lawmakers who authored the bill said.

The law defines anti-Semitism as hatred of Jews, including attacks on its minority, making false or hateful statements about them, or denying the mass extermination of Ukrainian Jewry during the Holocaust.  Damaging Jewish buildings and religious institutions also falls under the definition. 

As per the new law, victims of anti-Semitism will be able to claim compensation for moral and material damage.

World Zionist Organization chief Yaakov Hagoel praised the move.

“I commend the Ukrainian parliament on the precedent-setting step.  This is an important milestone in the long international struggle against anti-Semitism,” he said, expressing hope that Zelensky – who is Jewish – will sign the law, making it “a model for parliaments around the world.”

Less than 1% of Ukraine’s 40 million citizens are Jewish.  This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, where over 30,000 Jews were killed over the course of just two days in a ravine outside Kiev.



At Ramat Gan Safari, Animals Join In The Sukkot Fun

Sukkot is one of the most beloved holidays in Israel and at the Ramat Gan Safari, no one misses out on the holiday fun, not even the animals.

Safari caretakers have built special sukkahs in honor of the celebration.  The fat sand rat received a sukkah with a roof made of salt brushes, a treat it loves.  The tapirs’ and porcupines’ sukkahs have also been decorated with edible treats.

In addition to marking the holiday, the decorations and treats bring excitement into the animals’ lives and help them stay active as they roam around the structures to explore their treats, sharpening their senses and instincts.

Visitors at the safari have plenty of activities to enjoy in addition to observing animals eating, actively socializing and resting in their natural habitats.  Visitors especially enjoy a variety of  guided tours.

The safari is home to some 1,600 animals from all over the world, including African and Asian elephants, giraffes, orangutans, Sumatran tigers, gorillas and more.

A special safari exhibit during Sukkot is entitled “Magical Creatures of Mozambique” which includes eight gigantic pop-up books, open through the holiday week.