Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Weekly roundup of world briefs

 

March 22, 2019



Cruz to introduce resolution condemning anti-Semitism

(JNS)—U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has reportedly been spearheading a resolution explicitly condemning anti-Semitism that he plans to introduce early next week.

Jewish Insider reported the development on Friday, citing “a source familiar with the plan,” who said it is “just a condemnation of anti-Semitism. There’s nothing extraneous. The entire thing clocks in at just over 100 words.”

It comes one day after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

The House legislation was in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who on Sunday defended her recent remarks accusing her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

It is unclear if the Cruz resolution, unlike the House version, will call out Omar or any members of Congress explicitly.

The office of neither Cruz nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately responded to a request for comment.

Comedic rapper Lil Dicky is getting his own FX show

By Curt Schleier

(JTA)—Lil Dicky, the Jewish rapper known for his comedy and collaborating with the likes of Snoop Dogg, is going to star in a show based on his life.

As of now the show is untitled (“Untitled Lil Dicky Project” on IMDB), but it’s centered on a “suburban neurotic man in his late 20s who has convinced himself that he’s destined to be one of the best rappers of all time,” according to a news release.

Lil Dicky’s real name is David Burd, who was raised in an upper-middle-class Jewish home in suburban Philadelphia. His big break came in 2013 when the YouTube video for his song “Ex-Boyfriend”—think Woody Allen meets late-2000s hip-hop—went viral.

Burd plays on his Jewish identity on social media and occasionally in songs such as “Jewish Flow.”

Anti-Semitic incidents rise in the Netherlands to record number

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—The Netherlands in 2018 saw a 19 percent increase in recorded anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 to a record 230 cases.

The Center for Information and Documentation recorded 135 real-life incidents—those that did not occur online—Dutch Jewry’s watchdog group said in its annual report published Monday. There were 113 real-life incidents reported in 2017.

However, violent incidents decreased to only one compared to five in 2017.

Incidents that occurred in the victim’s direct environment increased to 40 from 24.

In one incident in June, a teenager was violently removed from a nightclub in Vlaardingen by security after inspecting his identity card, which carried a distinctly Jewish name, CIDI wrote.

In another, a man waiting for the metro in February 2018 was approached by another man who told him “God will kill you.”

Trump administration requests no taxpayer assistance to West Bank, Gaza

By Jackson Richman

(JNS)—The Trump administration requested in its 2020 budget proposal, released on Monday, that the United States continue not to give any taxpayer assistance to the West Bank and Gaza.

In the past few years, the administration has cut off U.S. assistance to the Palestinians through enacting measures such as the Taylor Force Act and the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act.

The United States cut funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, in August.

The administration requested that American assistance to Israel remain at $3.3 billion.

Germany not designating Hezbollah a terrorist group

(JNS)—Germany has said that it will not officially designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group, a development likely to cause tension between Berlin and Washington.

The country’s minister of state, Niels Annen, told Der Spiegel on Friday that the U.S.-designated terrorist group plays a crucial role in Lebanon, and that the European Union already blacklists the organization’s terrorist wing, reported Reuters.

This comes two weeks after the United Kingdom officially designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group, joining 12 other countries that have a similar designation.

Previously, the United Kingdom distinguished between the Hezbollah terrorist and political facets.

Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, gets lung transplant

(JNS)—Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s wife, Nechama, 73, received a new lung on Monday after being matched with a donor: 19-year-old Yair Yehezkel Halabli, who drowned on Friday while diving in Eilat.

“Nechama Rivlin underwent a lung transplant today at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah,” said the president’s spokesperson in a statement.

The spokesperson added that her condition was stable following the several-hour-long procedure.

Halabli’s sister, Amit, told the Israeli news site Walla that “it is very moving that my brother’s lung was transplanted into the body of the president’s wife, and I wish her a full recovery. We will be happy to meet with the president’s wife and the president after she has recovered from the operation.”

Rivlin, 73, has been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a respiratory disease in which scar tissue forms in the lungs, causing difficulty to breathe. In public, she usually carries an oxygen tank with her.

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with White House peace team

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The Trump administration’s Middle East peace team met in Washington, D.C., with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, attended the meeting Monday at the Jordanian ambassador’s residence, Reuters reported.

Pompeo and Abdullah also met alone, the State Department confirmed in a statement.

“Pompeo reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Jordan bilateral relationship and discussed several matters of mutual interest, including Jordan’s commitment to economic reform and developments in the region related to the conflict in Syria,” the statement said.

Abdullah also met Vice President Mike Pence on Monday.

The Trump peace plan likely will be released after Israel’s April 9 national elections.

British university union rejects motion to adopt anti-Semitism definition

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—The Leeds University Union voted against a motion calling on the British institution to fight anti-Semitism, prompting a university-wide referendum on the subject.

The draft motion submitted by the Leeds University Jewish Society to the student government called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. The definition includes some examples of anti-Israel vitriol, but states that criticism of Israel that is comparable to criticism of any other country does not constitute anti-Semitism.

In the vote Monday at a union policy forum, the motion came up two votes shy of the required number for adoption, though 10 representatives voted in favor and five against. A university-wide referendum is likely to fail.

The Leeds Jewish society is “incredibly disappointed,” its spokespeople wrote on Twitter.

Leeds University is the fifth largest school in the United Kingdom with a total of more than 33,000 students.

Critics of the anti-Semitism definition, which was adopted last year by the British government as its working definition of the phenomenon, say it obstructs free speech.

Belgium Jewish museum killer sentenced to life in prison

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The French Muslim extremist convicted of murdering four people in a terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014 was sentenced to life in prison.

Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, was convicted last week for the 2014 attack that left four dead, including two Israeli tourists.

He smirked and told the Brussels criminal court on Monday that “life goes on,” as the jury was about to leave the courtroom to decide on the sentence, the French news agency AFP reported. The jury did not decide on the sentence until early Tuesday morning.

He has 15 days to appeal the sentence.

His accomplice received a sentence of 15 years in prison.

White House budget plan contains full $3.3 billion in promised military aid for Israel

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Military aid for Israel apparently has avoided the budget axe.

The 2020 fiscal plan sent by the White House to Congress on Monday includes the full $3.3 billion in assistance promised under a 10-year memorandum of understanding, despite spending cuts throughout the proposal.

“The Budget fully supports the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing grant assistance to bolster Israel’s capacity to defend itself against threats in the region and maintain its qualitative military edge,” the budget document says, Israel’s business daily Globes reported.

The $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding, a 10-year defense agreement signed under President Barack Obama, went into operation in October at the start of the last fiscal year.

Under the MOU, the United States set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in foreign military financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years.

The budget plan includes domestic cuts to education and social welfare programs, among others, and includes $8.6 billion for a controversial border wall with Mexico and increased defense spending. Leaders in the House of Representatives said the plan had no chance of passing.

Netanyahu pre-indictment hearing delayed until after elections

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Prosecutors in the corruption cases against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to get their hands on the investigation files until after the country’s election on April 9 over fears of leaks to the media.

The Justice Ministry made the announcement on Monday evening, responding to a request from Netanyahu’s attorneys.

The prosecutors and the attorneys for the prime minister will be given three months to review the materials before a pre-indictment hearing in which Netanyahu can present his argument for dropping the case.

This means that the hearing will be held on or shortly after July 10.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced late last month that pending the hearing he plans to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases—the first time a sitting prime minister will face criminal charges.

Netanyahu has denied all the charges and called the investigations a “witch hunt” by the political left and the media.

New PA prime minister praised mastermind of Munich Olympics massacre

(MEMRI via JNS)—Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently appointed his longtime adviser, Muhammad Ishtayeh, to the position of prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

In 2010, MEMRI TV released a clip of Ishtayeh’s interview on July 9 of that year with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV; in that interview, Ishtayeh said of Abu Daoud, the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, that “the martyr Abu Daoud continues the convoy of martyrs who fell for the sake of Palestine. We all follow this path.”

Ishtayeh: “As for the claim that history can be rewritten in a different way, I think it is unjust to say that Palestinian history can be written in a different ink.”

“The ink in which Palestinian history has been written is red, and I believe that it will continue to be written in red ink.”

NASA to include Israeli-manufactured radiation suit

(JNS)—NASA will include a radiation suit produced by the Israeli firm StemRad Ltd. for its Orion Exploration-Mission 1, scheduled for June 2020, according to a blog post published last week on the European Space Agency’s website.

“The crewless mission is set to carry out radiation testing as part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment, a collaboration between NASA, the German Aerospace Center, the Israeli Space Agency, Lockheed Martin and StemRad, according to the blog,” reported the Israeli financial news site Calcalist. “Two dummies designed to record radiation levels, one donning StemRad’s radiation suit, will be used to assess and compare the levels astronauts may be exposed to during a lunar mission.”

StemRad, founded in 2011 and headquartered in Tel Aviv with other offices in Tampa Bay, develops and makes suitable anti-radiation materials for scientific, military and medical purposes.

Labour Party maverick Luciana Berger gives her newborn son a very Jewy name

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Luciana Berger, the British lawmaker who last month left the Labour Party over its failure to reign in anti-Semitism, has named her newborn son Zion.

The baby’s full name, given on Tuesday, is Zion Benjamin Manny Goldsmith. Berger is married to Alistair Goldsmith.

Berger was one of seven Labour lawmakers who quit the party on Feb. 18 to found the Independent Group. She called the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Writing in the London-based Jewish Chronicle, columnist Keren David said “Mazeltov to Luciana Berger and husband Alistair Goldsmith! And well done on picking a name for your child that has knocked everyone sideways. After all, what kind of a name is Zion for a Jewish boy?”

She wrote: “Let’s face it, every Jewish parent naming their baby has to decide how far to ‘out’ their child.”

With a name like Zion, he is totally out there.

Israeli bank pays $195 million fine for helping customers evade US taxes

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel’s third-largest bank will pay a $195 million fine after admitting to helping its customers avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The fine was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department and it is the result of a five-year investigation, Reuters reported.

Under the settlement, Mizrahi Tefahot, accepted responsibility for the actions of former employees who, it says, acted in contravention of the policies of the bank and its management, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. The employees, who were not in senior management, worked in private banking and customer relations between 2002 and 2012.

The bank also has put in place a new tax and money laundering measures program.

Genesis Prize advisory board member resigns over Robert Kraft honor

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—A member of the Genesis Prize advisory board resigned in protest over the decision to move forward with plans to honor Robert Kraft with the “Jewish Nobel” despite the New England Patriots owner being charged with soliciting a prostitute.

Rivka Carmi, a former president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, tendered her resignation earlier this week, Haaretz first reported Wednesday. Her resignation letter cited “frustration and disappointment” with the decision, according to the Israeli newspaper, and takes immediate effect.

It is the first public break with the Genesis Prize over granting the prize to Kraft, which was announced in January prior to the prostitution scandal. The honor comes with a $1 million prize that is generally donated to the cause of the recipient’s choice.

Kraft, 77, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution in Florida. The businessman and philanthropist was one of some 100 men caught in a police sting at a string of massage parlors in South Florida.

Carmi’s biography and photo remained on the Genesis Prize website on Wednesday afternoon in Israel. She is the only woman to serve as the head of a major Israeli university, retiring from Ben-Gurion University in December following 12 years at the helm.

Kraft was awarded the Genesis Prize a year after its previous laureate, actress Natalie Portman, refused to attend the prize ceremony in Israel because of her objections to the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

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