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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA

 

Rick Perry

Presidential bid coming? Perry says he’ll visit Israel

(JTA)—Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in what observers see as a move signaling a possible White House run, said he is planning to visit Israel in October.

Perry, who has announced that he will not run for a fourth term as Texas governor, told the Washington Times in an interview last Friday, “We will be going to Israel to bring together Arabs, Christian and Jews in an educational forum.”

Political analysts believe the trip to the Jewish state shows that Perry is considering a campaign for the 2016 presidential election. He dropped his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination during the primaries.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)—reported to be potential presidential candidates for 2016—have made trips to Israel this year.

Archaeologists discover sphinx in Israel

(JTA)—Archaeologists in northern Israel discovered an Egyptian sphinx thought to date back at least three millennia.

The sphinx was unearthed Tuesday, according to the French news agency AFP, and bears a dedication to the Egyptian ruler Mycerinus, who ruled circa 2500 BCE and built one of the three Pyramids at Giza. Researchers estimate that the sphinx arrived at its location in the town of Tel Hazor in around 1500 BCE as a gift from a later ruler.

“It’s possible the statue was sent by the Egyptian ruler to the king of Hazor, the most important ruler in this region,” Amnon Ben-Tor, the Hebrew University professor managing the dig, told AFP.

Archaeologists have found the forearms and paws of the sphinx and hope to find more pieces in the coming days.

Italian Jewry offers support to black government minister targeted by racism

(JTA)—Italy’s Jewish leadership expressed “all the solidarity of Italian Jews” to a black Italian government minister who has been targeted by racist slurs and death threats.

In the most recent slur against Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge, the vice president of the Italian senate, Roberto Calderoli, at a rally on Saturday of his Northern League party compared Kyenge to an “orangutan.”

Kyenge, Italy’s first black national official, immigrated to Italy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo nearly 30 years ago.

Since being named to Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s center-left government two months ago, Kyenge has had to contend with an avalanche of hate speech, mainly from extreme right political groups. Death threats have been posted on Facebook.

Letta called Calderoli’s words “unacceptable, beyond all limits.” Other politicians also condemned Calderoli; some called for his resignation.

Israeli soldiers fired on from Egypt

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Gunmen fired on Israeli soldiers from Egyptian territory.

No Israeli injuries were reported when the gunmen, who wore masks, fired from across the Egyptian border on Sunday evening before escaping into the Sinai Desert.

Egyptian soldiers and the gunmen continued to fire at each other near the border, according to reports.

Israelis living in the border area were ordered by the Israeli military to remain in their homes, the Times of Israel reported.

Thousands rally in Tel Aviv for social justice

JERUSALEM (JTA)—More than 3,000 Israelis marked the two-year anniversary of the social justice protest movement and demonstrated against current government economic policy at a rally in Tel Aviv.

The protest on Saturday night against the high cost of living, government budget cuts and the failure to initiate social reform blocked the major Ayalon Highway. Protesters marched in downtown Tel Aviv as well as south Tel Aviv.

The rally also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the death of social activist Moshe Sliman, who set himself on fire at a demonstration in Tel Aviv last summer. A letter written by Sliman shortly before his self-immolation was read at the main demonstration and protesters observed a moment of silence in his memory.

Netanyahu on ‘Face the Nation’: ‘I won’t wait until it’s too late’ on Iran

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Iran will not be allowed to cross the red line set by Israel with regard to its nuclear capability, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on “Face the Nation.”

“They’re not there yet. They’re getting closer,” Netanyahu told Bob Schieffer, the host of the CBS News program. “They should be—they should understand that they are not going to be allowed to cross it.”

“I won’t wait until it’s too late” to act, the Israeli leader said, adding, “We have our eyes fixed on Iran. They have to know that we’re serious.”

Netanyahu said he and President Obama have spoken “many times” about the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

But, Netanyahu qualified, “our clocks are ticking in a different pace. We’re closer than the United States. We’re more vulnerable. And therefore we’ll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does. But as the prime minister of Israel, I’m determined to do whatever is necessary to defend my country, the one and only Jewish state, from a regime that threatens us with renewed annihilation.”

Report: Israeli airstrike hit Syrian missile warehouse

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel was responsible for an attack earlier this month on a missile warehouse in Syria, unnamed U.S. officials said.

A New York Times report on Saturday cited the officials in saying that Israel carried out the July 5 air attack near Latakia, a major Syrian port city, targeting advanced anti-ship cruise missiles sold to the Syria government by Russia.

Arab world’s Ramadan entertainment features anti-Semitic miniseries

(JTA)—An anti-Semitic television series is being broadcast throughout the Arab world for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“Khaiber,” which is being shown on the satellite network Dubai TV, the Algerian 3 station and Dream TV, dramatizes the battle between Muslims and the Jews of the town of Khaiber in Arabia and depicts Jews as the enemy of Islam.

Traditional Islam believes the battle ended with the execution of thousands of Jews.

Episodes aired to date have revealed classic anti-Semitic motifs, including a Jewish conspiracy to undermine Arabs, as well as depicting Jews as cheap, greedy and immoral, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Other anti-Semitic miniseries have aired in the Arab world during previous Ramadans.

Yad Vashem ranked a top museum by travel website

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Yad Vashem was ranked fourth in the top 25 museums in the world by the travel website TripAdvisor.

Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum also was awarded the website’s 2013 Certificate of Excellence award given to sites that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews.

Memorial to the Jewish children murdered by the Nazis at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

TripAdvisor is a popular travel website driven by reviews and comments of tourists and travelers.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, tourist sites must maintain an overall rating of 4 or higher out of a possible 5, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Yad Vashem is currently listed as first among 146 recommended sites to visit in Jerusalem.

Visitors who commented on the site applauded the “moving and informative displays” and the “incredible use of architecture, audio visual, photos, and actual items to recreate a time in history that should never happen again.”

They called Yad Vashem an “emotional, educational and inspiring experience” and an “unbelievably moving experience” that is a “must-see” for any traveler to Israel.

Some 1 million people visit Yad Vashem annually.

 

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