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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


Israeli soldier injured in suspected Palestinian car ramming, knife attack

JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded after a suspected car ramming and knife attack in the West Bank.

The attack took place Monday afternoon near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, the IDF said.

The alleged attacker was shot by Israeli forces. He was treated at the scene by Israel Defense Forces medical personnel. The attacker, who was not immediately identified, later died at the scene, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

The Palestinian driver of the vehicle reportedly veered to hit Israeli soldiers stationed outside of the settlement and hit a streetlight, knocking it over. It is unclear whether the vehicle or the falling streetlight injured the soldier. The driver then exited the vehicle and attempted to stab nearby soldiers with a knife.

The injured soldier, 20, was taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

Dozens, including local bishop, attend ceremony commemorating Jedwabne pogrom

WARSAW, Poland (JTA)—Some 100 people attended a ceremony commemorating the victims of the pogrom in Jedwabne in northeast Poland.

For the first time ceremony was attended by Bishop Rafał Markowski, president of the Council for Religious Dialogue and the Committee for Dialogue with Judaism, who said that the Catholic Church prays for the Polish perpetrators of the murder and apologizes for it.

On July 10, 1941,  a few dozen local perpetrators burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn in the village of Jedwabne.

Markowski recalled that his predecessor, Bishop Mieczysław Cisło, had said that if the Nostra Aetate Declaration, on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions, was announced in 1939, there would not have been a pogrom in Jedwabne or in Kielce in 1946, or perhaps there would not have been the Holocaust.

Emil Jeowski, from Israel’s embassy, read a letter from Israel’s Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari, in which she emphasized that Israel remains friendly as it watches the difficult path being taken by Poland to learn its history.

“The demands of our religion are for us to remember and not forget,” said Anna Chipczyska, chairman of the board of the Warsaw Jewish Community, who was attended to during the ceremony for the first time by a bodyguard.

The ceremony also was attended by, among others, Mateusz Szpytma, deputy president of the Institute of National Remembrance; Wojciech Kolarski of the Chancellery of the President Andrzej Duda; Aaron Fishman of the U.S Embassy, and Rolf Nikel, Germany’s ambassador to Poland.

Isaac Lewin, whose family was murdered during the pogrom, came from Israel to recite the Kaddish prayer at the site, as he does every year.

A monument commemorates the events.

The pogrom was described in detail by Jan Tomasz Gross in his 2000 book “Neighbors”. The Institute of National Remembrance began an investigation into the pogrom, but three years later the investigation was discontinued, and Polish nationalists have tried to discredit Gross and blame the pogrom on communists and the Nazis.

In 2001, President Aleksander Kwaniewski apologized for the pogrom on behalf of him and Polish people “whose conscience is touched” by the crime.

Anti-Semitic graffiti spray painted near high school in Denver suburb

(JTA)—Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a highway underpass near a high school in a Denver suburb.

“Build that wall” and “Hitler was right” were painted next to a drawing of a swastika near a high school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

The graffiti discovered last week by a resident out jogging is the sixth incident in the Metro-Denver area in recent months, The Denver Channel reported.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crime, but closed the case after not finding any clues with which to identify a suspect, according to the report.

The Anti-Defamation League in a statement condemned the graffiti attack. “There is no place for such hateful, bigoted messages in our community,” said ADL Regional Director Scott L. Levin.

The ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents found 45 incidents in Colorado in 2016, compared to only 18 incidents in 2015.

Police investigate Islamic activist who blamed deadly London fire on ‘Zionists’

(JTA)—A British Islamic activist who said during a rally in London last month that “Zionists” were responsible for the deaths of dozens in a tragic apartment fire is under investigation by police.

London Metropolitan Police are investigating allegations that Nazim Ali,  a director of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, made anti-Semitic comments during the annual anti-Israel Al-Quds Day parade, The Telegraph reported. Al-Quds is the Muslim name for Jerusalem.

Ali told the June 18 rally: “As we know in Grenfell, many innocents were murdered by Theresa May’s cronies, many of which are supporters of Zionist ideology.”

At least 80 people were killed June 14 when fire swept through the low-income, high-rise Grenfell Tower apartment building in West London. Protesters blame the government for ignoring safety issues in the building.

Ali also said: “Let us not forget that some of the biggest corporations who were supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell, the Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”

Footage of his comments was posted online.

In other comments he said: “It is the Zionists who give money to the Tory party, to kill people in high rise blocks... Careful, careful, careful of those rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies, who have got blood on their hands.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the Jewish umbrella organization.

The Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom, told The Telegraph that it was “grotesque” for Ali to link his opposition to Israel with the Grenfell tragedy.

“In any circumstance, these comments would have been utterly hateful, but to hang them on what happened at Grenfell Tower beggared belief. It was, of course, a pro-Hezbollah demonstration, but such hatred would have been staggering even in Beirut or Tehran, never mind the streets of London,” a Community Security Trust spokesman told the Telegraph.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed to the newspaper that allegations of anti-Semitic comments during the Al-Quds Day parade remain under investigation.

Lawyers for Jewish woman in Montana can’t find the neo-Nazi she is suing

  (JTA)—Lawyers for a Jewish woman in Montana say they are unable to track down a neo-Nazi she is suing for launching a harassment campaign against her and her family.

Tanya Gersh of Whitefish, Montana announced in April a suit against Andrew Anglin, the founder of the white nationalist website, The Daily Stormer, for revealing her personal information and inflicting “emotional distress.” After a three-month search, Gersh’s lawyers are still trying to find Anglin to deliver the suit.

Anglin launched a campaign in December against Gersh after Sherry Spencer of Whitefish, mother of another white supremacist, Richard Spencer, posted an article on Medium targeting Gersh, a real estate agent, over a real estate dispute. The next day, Anglin made a post for his subscribers titled “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion—TAKE ACTION!”  

Gersh claims that anonymous internet users harassed her family after Anglin revealed her her home address and phone number, her husband’s business contact information and her son’s Twitter handle.

The suit accuses Anglin of invading Gersh’s privacy and violating a Montana anti-intimidation law. The Daily Stormer created a campaign on WeSearchr to pay for Anglin’s legal expenses, raising more than $152,000 in donations from nearly 2,000 contributors. According to The Associated Press, Anglin has yet to reveal his whereabouts to face Gersh’s claim.

Gersh’s lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center have said that, based off procedure, her suit must be dismissed if Anglin isn’t served a copy of it by July 17. Her team is asking the court for an extended deadline.

Kosher bakery delivery truck used in Miami bank robbery

(JTA)—A delivery truck of a popular Miami-area kosher bakery was used in a bank robbery.

One of the six delivery trucks from the Zak the Baker kosher bakery and deli was stolen on Wednesday while the driver stopped on his delivery route, bakery owner Zak Stern told Miami.com. Before calling police, Stern  first called his clients who would not be getting bread that day, he said.

Before police could locate the stolen van, which is white with the word “Bakery” emblazoned in black across the side, it was used as a getaway car in a local bank robbery, according to reports. The thieves got away with an unspecified amount of cash from the TD Bank branch at 7400 SW 40th St.

Police first had to determine whether the van used was the stolen vehicle or one of the other five vans in Stern’s fleet. Some of the other vans in the fleet were pulled over by police as they attempted to locate the right one, according to Miami.com.

The truck was found abandoned several hours after the robbery, and later was returned to Stern.

179-year-old NYC Conservative synagogue to go condo

(JTA)—A historic 179-year-old Conservative synagogue in New York’s Upper West Side is moving forward with plans to house a 14-story apartment building.

The proposed project for the Shaare Zedek synagogue includes 20 condominiums, with a community center for the synagogue in the building’s first three floors, The Real Deal, a website focusing on New York real estate news, reported last week.

Some community members, concerned about issues such as increased traffic in the area, had asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider naming the synagogue’s building a city landmark, but the commission issued a decision in October that the building didn’t “rise to the level of an individual landmark,” The Real Deal reported.

Synagogue president Michael Firestone said in September during a community board member meeting that the congregation could not remain solvent without partnering with a developer, as several New York synagogues have done in recent years, The Real Deal reported, citing DNAinfo.

The synagogue, the third oldest in New York City, was established in 1837 by Polish immigrants, according to its website. It started on the Lower East Side and moved to Harlem before building at its current location. The current synagogue building was dedicated on April 15, 1923, and in 1944 the congregation paid off the mortgage.

Newcomer Avi Gabbay wins election to lead Israeli Labor party

(JTA)—Avi Gabbay will lead Israel’s Labour party after defeating his opponent in the second round of primaries.

On Monday evening, Gabbay, who switched to the center-left Labor party several months ago from Kulanu, a smaller center-right party, won the election to head the party, garnering 52 percent of the vote. His opponent, Amir Peretz, a former Labor head and defense minister got 47 percent of the vote.

Gabbay, a former environmental protection minister who was seen as a dark horse candidate in the Labor race, and Peretz advanced to the second round of voting after beating current opposition leader Isaac Herzog in the first party primaries last week. In the first round, Peretz got 33 percent of the vote, Gabbay got 27 percent and Herzog, who has served as the party’s chief for one four-year term, got 16 percent.

Labor currently serves in the Knesset as part of the opposition bloc Zionist Union in partnership with the small Hatnua party of former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Zionist Union holds 24 seats in the 120-member parliament.


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