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  • 110-year-old Jewish business mural reveals when building torn down

    Toby Axelrod|Jul 10, 2020

    BERLIN (JTA) - In May, a demolition crew tore down a building in the western German city of Gelsenkirchen. As the walls fell, a 110-year-old advertising mural on the adjacent brick wall was exposed. It read: "For suits and overcoats with a perfect fit, shop at Alexander." The large Alexander family was Jewish and had moved to Gelsenkirchen around the 1910s from another German city. The Nazis eventually expropriated their businesses and property. Some family members fled to Brazil. Others made...

  • Chabad says 100,000 people attended Zoom commemoration

    Laura E. Adkins|Jul 3, 2020

    (JTA) — The Chabad-Lubavitch movement estimates that 100,000 people on 45,000 devices gathered in an online Zoom event to honor the late Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Schneerson, who died in 1994, led the movement’s transition from a small and insular Hasidic sect to an outward-facing global force. Tens of thousands visit his grave in Queens, New York, every year on the anniversary of his death. Things were different this year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “Our focus is always to strengthen people’s connect...

  • Chuck Schumer and 2 other key pro-Israel Democrats warn Israel against annexation

    Ron Kampeas|Jul 3, 2020

    WASHINGTON (JTA) - Three of Israel's most stalwart boosters among Democrats in Congress are warning the country against annexing parts of the West Bank. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Robert Menendez of New Jersey released a statement Friday saying they were "compelled to express opposition to the proposed unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank." The three senators are only the latest Democrats in Congress to warn Israel...

  • New Irish government rejects effort to boycott Israeli products

    Israel Kasnett|Jul 3, 2020

    (JNS) — The anti-Israel movement in Ireland has suffered a major defeat. Earlier this month, the political parties working on forming the next government in Ireland eliminated a key bill that would have placed a boycott on products produced in Israeli settlements. Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, told JNS that the bill was “carefully drafted so as to pretend to be about ‘occupied’ territories generally, but in fact would apply to just one disputed territory in the world, which happens to be the heart of the ancient...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    Jul 3, 2020

    After 3 months and 5 days, the synagogue at Chabad headquarters reopens to unmasked crowds By Shira Hanau (JTA) — It closed with dancing and it reopened with dancing. The main Chabad synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn reopened to a large crowd Monday, more than three months after it shut down amid mounting restrictions meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The raucous service was documented in a video posted to Instagram by COLlive, a local Orthodox news site in Crown Heights. No one in the video, which shows dozens of men s...

  • Israel's ambassador to UK reflects on global issues, namely Iran, before leaving office

    Shiryn Ghermezian|Jun 26, 2020

    (JNS) - Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom Mark Regev discussed Israel's relations with Britain and its neighbors during a webinar on Thursday, his last livestreamed event before ending his five-year term as ambassador. Regev, who has served in the Israeli foreign ministry for more than three decades, began the online discussion, hosted by the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs, by voicing support for Israel's move to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria. "All Israeli...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    Jun 26, 2020

    Israeli government to bail out El Al, could gain full control (JNS) — Israel’s Finance Ministry on Sunday proposed to loan $250 million to El Al airlines, far short of the $400 million the struggling airline had requested. However, the government could end up nationalizing the airline, as it committed to purchasing any shares not bought by the public in an offering meant to raise the remaining $150 million, Israeli business daily Globes reported. The Borovitz family currently has a majority stake in the airline and is probably not going to tak...

  • Palestinian counterproposal to Trump peace plan

    Ben Harris|Jun 19, 2020

    (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority has submitted a proposal for an independent demilitarized Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Tuesday that the P.A. had submitted a proposal to the so-called Quartet of international mediators — comprising the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — in response to the Trump administration’s release of its own Middle East peace plan in January. Shtayyeh said the proposal calls for a “sovereign Palestinian state, in...

  • No Pie for Palestine

    Jonathan Feldstein|Jun 19, 2020

    Once, I was down to the last bite of a really good blueberry pie. My wife moved in with her fork to have some and I (playfully) stabbed her in the hand with my fork. Suffice it to say, I didn’t end up with the last bite of pie, and my stabbing her and not her taking my pie is what’s remembered. While it’s not a perfect analogy to describe the Middle East in terms of a pie, it’s a funny story and relevant metaphor. Israel shares a small hotly contested piece of land with Arabs who do not share Israel’s national or religious ideals. The pie a...

  • AIPAC tells lawmakers it won't push back if they criticize annexation

    Ron Kampeas|Jun 19, 2020

    WASHINGTON (JTA) - The leading pro-Israel lobby in the United States is telling lawmakers that they are free to criticize Israel's looming annexation plans - just as long as the criticism stops there. Two sources - a congressional aide and a donor - say the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is delivering that guidance in Zoom meetings and phone calls with lawmakers. The message is unusual because the group assiduously discourages public criticism of Israel. But these are...

  • World Council of Churches wants EU sanctions on Israel if it annexes West Bank lands

    Cnaan Liphshiz|Jun 19, 2020

    (JTA) — The World Council of Churches is asking European diplomats to punish Israel with sanctions if it annexes West Bank lands. The request has triggered a heated debate in Christian circles. The call to punish Israel came last month in a letter to EU foreign ministers from the Geneva headquarters of the council, an umbrella body established in 1948 that now has 350 member churches with about 500,000 followers among them. The Catholic Church is not a member. If Israel annexes land, the letter said, “the EU must surely suspend the EU-...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    Jun 19, 2020

    Suspect arrested for attack on Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick (JNS) — A suspect was arrested on Friday in connection with the assault on former Likud Knesset member Yehuda Glick a day earlier, at the mourning tent of an autistic Arab man shot by Jerusalem police on May 30. The suspect, who is in his 20s, is from the Wadi-al-Joz neighborhood north of the Old City of Jerusalem, denied any involvement and was released to house arrest. Glick was assaulted and thrown down a flight of stairs while trying to pay condolences in eastern Jerusalem t...

  • Breaking China: A rupture looms between Israel and the United States

    Ron Kampeas|Jun 12, 2020

    WASHINGTON (JTA) - Israel's announcement last week that an Israeli consortium would build Sorek 2, the world's largest desalination plant, surprised many who had been watching the deal: The contract had been expected to go to a Hong Kong-based company. But that was before the Trump administration ramped up pressure on Israel to diminish its ties to China. For years, Israel has been working to dramatically expand trade with China, one of the world's largest markets. That push is suddenly running...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    Jun 12, 2020

    Oklahoma’s governor signs anti-Israel boycott legislation By Marcy Oster (JTA) — Oklahoma can no longer contract with companies that boycott Israel. On Tuesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed a bill that would apply to state contracts over $100,000, unless the company is officially exempted by the Oklahoma secretary of state. The measure says that Oklahoma may not enter into contracts with companies that advocate boycotts, divestment or sanctions against Israel, a reference to the BDS movement against Israel. In March, attorneys wit...

  • NY Times blasted for vicious libel against Israel's corona battle

    Israel Hayom|Jun 5, 2020

    Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer leveled scathing criticism at The New York Times on Friday over an article pointing out that the Israel Defense Forces’ research and development efforts, which have proven crucial in Israel’s battle against the coronavirus, are predominately dedicated to devising ways to counter the Jewish state’s enemies. The article, “Israeli Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives,” which was published on Thursday, states that “The Israeli Defense Ministry’s research-and-development arm is best known f...

  • In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, first doesn't mean best

    Abigail Klein Leichman|Jun 5, 2020

    (Israel21c via JNS) — About 120 research groups from various countries are racing to develop vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). Several formulations have already advanced to human safety trials. Although the frontrunners in this race are American, British, Chinese, Japanese and German, Israel also has a few contenders. However, vaccine development, like drug development, is a long and complicated process. And it doesn’t always succeed, explains industry expert Ron Ellis, editor in chief of “Human Vaccines & Immuno...

  • Is Tehran taking advantage of coronavirus pandemic to continue its nuclear pursuit?

    Israel Kasnett|Jun 5, 2020

    (JNS) - Despite facing one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks, Iran appears to be continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as its aggressive regional behavior. Iran has already acknowledged that it has increased its uranium stockpile, which now stands at more than 1,000 kilograms, and is also using a greater number of advanced centrifuges for enrichment. Based on these developments, experts believe that Iran's breakout time to produce a nuclear weapon may have now been reduced...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    Jun 5, 2020

    Hasidic school in upstate New York found operating with ‘hundreds of students inside’ By Marcy Oster (JTA) — A school in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel in New York was ordered to close after it was found operating with hundreds of students in its building. Orange County said in a statement that officials visiting the school last week “found what appeared to be hundreds of students inside, not wearing personal protective equipment, not social distancing, and plainly in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders,” the Times Herald-Reco...

  • Abbas ends security cooperation

    Ron Kampeas|May 29, 2020

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to all agreements with Israel, including security cooperation, effectively turning over to Israel’s government the running of the entire West Bank. “The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas said in a speech in Ramalla...

  • Palestinians reject COVID-19 aid from UAE because it was coordinated through Israel

    Marcy Oster|May 29, 2020

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority rejected a humanitarian shipment of medical supplies sent by the United Arab Emirates because it coordinated the shipment with Israel. The Etihad Airways flight that landed Tuesday night in Israel carrying 14 tons of medical aid to deal with the coronavirus was reported to be the first publicly acknowledged direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Israel. Israel and the UAE do not have diplomatic relations and there is no air travel between the two countries. “The UAE authorities did not coordinate with the...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    May 29, 2020

    Italian synagogues and churches reopen, but with fewer worshippers allowed By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA) — Synagogues and churches have reopened in northern Italy, where they had been shut down since that area went into lockdown following the first major outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe. The main synagogue of Milan reopened Monday per guidelines agreed-upon last week with government officials, Moked, the Italian-Jewish news site, reported. Synagogues also have reopened in Rome and Florence at least. Italian shops, hairdressers and restaurants also open...

  • Evangelical TV host says stop GOD TV from proselytizing Jews

    May 22, 2020

    (TENNESSEE)-Laurie Cardoza-Moore has called on the Israeli government to ban GOD TV from broadcasting programs focused on converting Jews to Christianity. Cardoza-Moore is the founder of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations and host of the award-winning Evangelical Christian television program Focus On Israel, which formerly aired globally on GOD TV and is currently syndicated on other Christian channels reaching a weekly audience of billions. The statement comes after GOD TV announced that they...

  • Weekly roundup of world briefs

    May 22, 2020

    Government to bail out El Al, though harsh cuts in order (JNS)—The Israeli government plans to bail out national airline carrier El Al, granting loan guarantees for 80 percent of a $400 million loan. It was agreed on Sunday evening at a meeting at the Finance Ministry that the loan would be dependent on a range of demands, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. El Al airlines has suffered since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak and the cancellation of passenger flights. The government is requiring the airline to make cuts beyond t...

  • How the coronavirus is hitting Jewish communities worldwide

    Uriel Heilman|May 15, 2020

    (JTA)—The impact of the coronavirus on the Jewish world is a study in contrasts. In Israel, where the total death toll as of Tuesday was 238 and the number of new daily infections below 50, the country has significantly eased its lockdown. School has resumed for some grades, businesses have reopened, and on Thursday beaches and outdoor markets reopened. But in many large Jewish communities worldwide, the coronavirus is still wreaking a terrible toll. Among the 8 million Jews living in the Diaspora—more than Israel’s 6.7 million but less than...

  • Biden pledges to resume US assistance to Palestinians

    May 15, 2020

    (JNS)—Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that if elected president, he would reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization Diplomatic Mission in Washington, D.C., and restore U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority. The presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee also reiterated that he would reopen the U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem, which primarily serves the Palestinians. “A priority now for the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace should be resuming our dialogue with the Palestinians and pressing Israel not...

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