Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Amelie Botbol


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  • Israeli startup Wiz could become Google's biggest-ever buy

    Joshua Marks and Amelie Botbol|Jul 19, 2024

    (JNS) — Google’s parent company Alphabet is in advanced talks to acquire Israeli cloud cybersecurity startup Wiz in a deal worth some $23 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. If the agreement is inked, it would represent the California tech giant’s biggest-ever buy (scorching the previous record of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in 2012). It would also mark a significant achievement for Israel’s high-tech sector. “This is the largest acquisition to ever happen in the Israeli high-tech sector. It’s a sign of the strength of...

  • Hamas said to have rejected ceasefire proposal

    Amelie Botbol|Jun 21, 2024

    (JNS) — Hamas has rejected the Israeli hostage-ceasefire deal, claiming that it is fundamentally different than the one presented by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31, the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday. The Gaza-based terror group sent a clarification memorandum to the Palestinian terror factions on Wednesday, the text of which was seen by the news outlet. It claims that the current proposal “does not promise a permanent ceasefire, the occupation’s forces will remain in Gaza, and when they receive the hostages, they will...

  • 'For the first time since Oct. 7, I can breathe'

    Amelie Botbol|Jun 21, 2024

    (JNS) — “I am very cheerful and full of joy. For the first time since October 7, I feel that I can breathe again,” Aviram Meir, the uncle of Almog Meir Jan, told JNS on Thursday. Meir Jan was rescued during “Operation Arnon” last Saturday along with Noa Argamani, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv from two separate locations in Nuseirat Camp in the central Gaza Strip. Hamas terrorists abducted all four from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im during the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre. “We thank all the decision-makers, the planners and the soldi...

  • Israelis rejoice after four saved from Gaza

    Amelie Botbol|Jun 14, 2024

    (JNS) - Thousands of Israelis converged on "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, many euphoric over the daring operation to rescue four captives from Gaza even while demanding a deal with Hamas to secure the freedom of the remaining 120 Israelis held by the terrorists. During a complex daytime operation in the heart of a crowded residential neighborhood, Israeli forces recovered from Hamas captivity Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40. "I was so...

  • Cousin describes hostage's condition after 'miraculous' rescue

    Amelie Botbol|Jun 14, 2024

    (JNS) - "It's a miracle," Liat Ariel told JNS on Monday. Ariel's cousin Shlomi Ziv, along with Noa Argamani, Almog Meir and Andrey Kozlov, was rescued by Israeli forces in a daring daylight raid on Saturday after spending 246 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza. "We are still digesting the news. We don't really quite understand what happened to us. Suddenly, Shlomi is back," Ariel said. "We are so happy and a bit nervous. We want to make sure that he is fine. He looks alright physically but...

  • Evacuees from northern Israel demand elimination of Hezbollah threat

    Amelie Botbol|Jun 7, 2024

    By (JNS) — Evacuees from Israel’s north set up a tent encampment on Tuesday outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem to protest their ongoing displacement due to daily attacks by the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. “We’ve been unable to return to our homes for more than seven months. We won’t go back until we know we’re safe,” Raphael Salve, co-founder of Lobby 1701, a group representing displaced people from northern towns and villages, told JNS. Lobby 1701 is named after the U.N. Security Council Resolution that...

  • Video shows Hamas abduction of female IDF spotters on Oct. 7

    Joshua Marks and Amelie Botbol|May 31, 2024

    (JNS) - The Hostages and Missing Families Forum on Wednesday evening released a video of Hamas terrorists abducting female Israel Defense Forces spotters on Oct. 7. Footage taken by body cameras of the terrorists reveals the violence and trauma experienced by five of the seven spotters captured alive from the Nahal Oz base. Another 15 field observers serving there were murdered during the attack. The video running time is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. It was edited and censored to exclude the most...

  • 'Quiet Rooms' create sense of peace for evacuated Israelis

    Amelie Botbol|May 31, 2024

    (JNS) - Israelis evacuated from their homes in communities opposite the Gaza Strip and the Upper Galilee, who live in temporary housing arrangements, have been provided specially designed areas called "Quiet Rooms" for them to retrieve some peace and privacy. The "Quiet Rooms," modeled after Beit Issie Shapiro's Snoezelen rooms, are controlled spaces designed to reduce anxiety and mental stress while calming sensory overload. Since 1993, when their first Snoezelen room opened, Ra'anana-based...

  • Supernova victim's father saved many young people searching for his daughter

    Amelie Botbol|May 24, 2024

    (JNS) - "Somehow I know that Shani attended the Supernova festival on October 7 for a reason. Had she not, a lot more people would have died," Aviel Gabbay told JNS on Sunday. Aviel's sister Shani Gabbay was murdered by Hamas terrorists and later mistakenly buried along with another victim. "My father [Yaakov] would not have driven three hours from Yokneam [in the Lower Galilee] to Kibbutz Re'im [near Gaza] to look for her and would not have saved many others in the process," Aviel said. Shani...

  • Former Hamas captive works for hope and unity

    Amelie Botbol|May 24, 2024

    (JNS) - "Our unity gives us as much protection as our army. We need it just as much to secure our existence," Sapir Cohen, who spent 55 days in Hamas captivity, told JNS on Monday. On Oct. 6, on the eve of Simchat Torah, Cohen and her boyfriend, Alex Trufanov, drove to Kibbutz Nir Oz to spend the holiday with his parents. The next morning, they woke up to loud explosions. "We hid under the bed. There was nowhere else to hide. Then, I heard screams of 'Allahu Akbar.' Terrorists were yelling and t...

  • 38 Israeli families mourn while Hamas holds their loved one's remains

    Amelie Botbol|May 17, 2024

    (JNS) - Families of deceased hostages whose bodies are still being held by Hamas in Gaza carried an empty coffin through Jerusalem on Thursday to raise awareness of their plight and call for the return of their loved ones. "I am attending this rally because we, the families of deceased hostages, are a unique group," Ruby Chen, the father of American-Israeli dual citizen Sgt. Itay Chen, 19, told JNS on Thursday. Itay, from Netanya, was stationed at the Nahal Oz army base as part of a tank unit...

  • Israel Bonds surpasses $3 billion in sales since Oct. 7

    Amelie Botbol|May 17, 2024

    (JNS) - Israel Bonds has surpassed $3 billion in global sales in the seven months since Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre, a sum almost three times greater than the company's recent annual average. "On Oct. 7, we initiated what is the most powerful and successful campaign in support of the state of Israel in the history of Israel Bonds since 1951," Israel Bonds president and CEO Dani Naveh told JNS. "My managerial task, in collaboration with my amazing team, was to elevate Israel Bonds sales to a much hig...

  • VR project features five survivors of Oct. 7 Hamas massacre

    Amelie Botbol|May 10, 2024

    (JNS) - "It all started after I joined the fight on Oct. 7 against Hamas terrorists invading the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip," says Nimrod Palmach, CEO of Israel-is, which partners with producer Stephen D. Smith in the virtual reality "Be the Witness" initiative. Israel-is is an NGO dedicated to improving Israel's image. Part of the "Survived to Tell" project, "Be the Witness" features the stories of five survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre. Participants in the project wear...

  • Israeli lawmaker to JNS: Israel must regain control of Gaza

    Amelie Botbol|May 10, 2024

    (JNS) — The only moral and rational conclusion that can be drawn from the horrors of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre is that Israel must regain control of the Gaza Strip, Knesset member Amit Halevi (Likud) told JNS. “Israel had disengaged from Gaza, it was essentially a Palestinian state. The outcome was Oct. 7,” Halevi said on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference Hungary on Thursday. “From the river to the sea, Israel will be free: this should be the slogan chanted at Columbia University, Harvard, Yale and Berkeley,...

  • Bereaved father slams anti-gov't protesters

    Amelie Botbol|Apr 19, 2024

    (JNS) - The father of an Israeli Defense Forces soldier killed in action in the Gaza Strip has denounced renewed anti-government protests, accusing demonstrators of using the plight of bereaved families and the relatives of hostages to further their political aims. "Nobody should burn the country down," Hagay Lober, whose son Staff Sgt. (res.) Elisha Yehonatan Lober, 24, was killed in the southern Gaza Strip in December, wrote in a viral Facebook post on Sunday. "You cannot dismantle the...

  • Low-key Purim celebrations in Tel Aviv against backdrop of war

    Amelie Botbol|Mar 29, 2024

    (JNS) - Tel Aviv's bustling Dizengoff Street was lined with people garbed in Purim costumes on Sunday, even as the celebrations were noticeably muted compared to years past due to the ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "This year feels different with everything that has been happening. There are people who aren't celebrating with us because they can't and there are those who will never celebrate again," Zach Blank, 28, who immigrated to Tel Aviv from the United States 10 years ago,...

  • 'When will he be coming home?'

    Amelie Botbol|Mar 8, 2024

    (JNS) - "I can't allow myself to get caught in the emotional rollercoaster around hostage negotiations," said Jonathan Dekel-Chen, whose son Sagui, 35, was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7. "It is hard if not impossible to survive that when your loved one is being held captive by a terror organization," he told JNS. On Oct. 7, some 200 terrorists stormed Kibbutz Nir-Oz, murdering 40 residents and abducting 80 more. "I have been worried for Sagui's life since then. Every day is another day that the...

  • 'We wanted to keep Shani's memory alive'

    Amelie Botbol|Feb 16, 2024

    (JNS) - Friends, family and supporters gathered on Feb. 7 at the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art in Tel Aviv to mark what would have been Shani Louk's 23rd birthday with an exhibition of work that runs through Feb. 21. On Oct. 7, Louk became a symbol of Hamas's unfolding atrocities as terrorists paraded her lifeless body on a pickup truck through the streets of Gaza, with crowds cheering and spitting on her lifeless body. "We wanted to keep Shani's memory alive through her passion for dancing and...

  • In evacuated northern kibbutz, signs of Hezbollah abound

    Amelie Botbol|Feb 2, 2024

    (JNS) - Founded in 1916, Kfar Giladi is one of Israel's oldest kibbutzim. Located less than a mile from the Lebanese village of Odaisseh, it is currently evacuated. Nisan Zeevi is a member of the kibbutz's local security squad. "If Israel does not address the threat Hezbollah poses, residents of northern Israel are at risk of another murderous invasion similar to Hamas's Oct. 7 attack," Zeevi told JNS. "On Oct. 7, we woke up to the horrors of Hamas's massacre and were certain that Hezbollah...

  • US volunteers help equip IDF

    Amelie Botbol|Jan 12, 2024

    (JNS) — Operation Israel, a U.S.-based nonprofit, has provided more than $7 million worth of supplies, medical equipment and protective gear to IDF soldiers since Hamas launched the current war with its massacre of 1,200 people on Oct. 7, the NGO said on Thursday. Since then, the organization has received requests from nearly a thousand IDF units and provided some 10,000 soldiers with a total of more than 50,000 items, including ceramic vests, ballistic goggles and tactical gear together weighing over 66,000 pounds (30,000 kilograms). The group...

  • 'For someone who's been a hostage, it's not easy to come back'

    Amelie Botbol|Dec 8, 2023

    (JNS) — “I was six years old when I was captured by terrorists during the Entebbe hostage crisis, and Emilia Aloni, who was just released, is the same age. I can’t get her out of my head,” Shay Gross told JNS. Aloni, 5, was freed from Hamas captivity on Friday, along with her mother Danielle, as part of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The Palestinian terror group took captive some 240 people during its Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, which left 1,200 Israelis dead and thousands more wounded. Gross was among 246 civilia...

  • Farmer hero saved scores while Hamas massacred 364 at music festival

    Amelie Botbol|Dec 8, 2023

    (JNS) — Rami Davidian, a farmer from Moshav Patish, an Israeli farming community located about 10 miles from the Gaza Strip, saved scores of young partygoers during Hamas’s murderous assault on the northwestern Negev. Davidian, 58, will participate in a series of gatherings and speaking opportunities in Miami and New York to describe the role he played as a civilian hero during the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, which killed 1,200 and wounded thousands. He also met Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erda...

  • Olim line up to support their new homeland in time of war

    Amelie Botbol|Nov 17, 2023

    (JNS) — As rockets from Gaza continue to rain down across Israel following the carnage of the Hamas attack on the western Negev that began on Oct. 7, and foreign nations including the United States consider further evacuations of their citizens, many new immigrants to the Jewish state are for the first time facing the harsh reality of living at war. Dov Lipman, former member of the Knesset and CEO of the Yad L’Olim NGO, shed light on how traumatic the last few weeks have been for olim in Israel. He made aliyah from the U.S. in 2004. “Ke...