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

Weekly roundup of world briefs


March 29, 2019

US Jewish communities support Muslim neighbors at prayer services and vigils

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Jewish communities throughout the United States attended vigils and services at mosques in their communities to express support and concern in the wake of the murder by a white supremacist of at least 50 Muslim worshipers at two New Zealand mosques.

The Levine Center to End Hate and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester organized members of the Jewish community to stand outside of the Islamic Center of Rochester on Sunday to show support and solidarity, including with messages on handmade signs.

Two Cleveland-area rabbis were scheduled to speak Sunday at an interfaith vigil for peace and understanding organized by the suburban Chagrin Valley Islamic Center.

The Islamic Center of Boulder, Colorado invited the Jewish community to attend a multi-faith vigil on Sunday “to honor the victims, to pray for them and to call for peace.”

In San Francisco’s Bay Area, Jews attended prayers on Friday afternoon at several mosques, with Jewish groups encouraging their members to attend, including Peninsula JCC, Peninsula Temple Beth El, Peninsula Temple Shalom, Congregation Beth Jacob, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council, J. The Jewish News of Northern California reported.

In the South Bay area, Jews attended Friday services at the South Bay Islamic Association in San Jose.

The New York Jewish community joined hundreds of fellow New Yorkers who gathered at Washington Square Park for an interfaith prayer session and vigil. The event was moved to an earlier time to allow Sabbath-observant Jews to attend.

Following the New Zealand attack, a lawmaker from Britain’s Labour Party called for action against a neo-Nazi radio station called Radio Aryan, which broadcasts anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hate, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

Lawmaker Stephen Doughty has been working for months to put a stop to the pirate radio station that broadcasts on social media. The station, which broadcasts daily readings from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, is transmitted from a secret location in Britain. The station has praised the manifesto of Brenton Tarrant, the man arrested for being the gunman in the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Man shouts ‘Heil Hitler’ at Estonian chief rabbi and children on their way to synagogue

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—Estonia’s chief rabbi and two of his children were accosted on the street on their way to synagogue by a man who shouted anti-Semitic insults at them.

Police on Sunday arrested the man, who is 27 and was not named in Estonian media, at a shopping mall in the capital Tallinn, the Estonian Public Broadcasting Service on Monday reported.

Rabbi Shmuel Kot said the man shouted “Sieg Heil” and “Heil Hitler” at him on Saturday while Kot was walking to synagogue with two children aged 7 and 12. Kot filed a complaint with police, who used security camera and other footage to identity a suspect and arrest him ahead of an indictment, Kot said. He added such incidents are “very rare” in Estonia, the northernmost Baltic state, situated just south of Finland.

The incident was the first time the two children had witnessed any such harassment, Kot said, but “I were not too shaken, and frankly I think this whole incident was overblown in how it was covered in the media,” he said.

Hamas arrests, beats seven journalists covering economic protests in Gaza

(JNS)—Seven Palestinian reporters were in Hamas’s custody on Sunday, reported The Times of Israel, citing a source with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, as they were covering protests over Gaza’s increasingly severe economic hardships and high cost of living.

They were “due to be released in the coming hours,” according to the outlet, as “security forces have used violence to break up the demonstrations, and according to rights groups, dozens have been arrested, including journalists and human-rights workers.”

The West Bank-based syndicate said that 17 journalists were arrested, 10 of them released and four undergoing hospital treatment.

The U.N. envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a statement: “I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days.”

“I am particularly alarmed by the brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the raiding of homes,” he added.

Mladenov also noted that “the long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal.”

Israeli forensics team travels to Ethiopia to help identify plane-crash victims

(JNS)—A forensics team from the Israel Police arrived on Monday in Ethiopia to assist local authorities in identifying the remains of two Israelis who were killed alongside the 155 other passengers onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed to the ground shortly after takeoff on March 10.

Reportedly, it may take half a year to identify the victims’ remains.

“We are embarking on a national mission and joining the international effort and other delegations that will arrive in the field,” said chief superintendent Ilan Peer, the leader of the delegation, reported The Jerusalem Post. “Our goal is to identify the two Israelis who perished in the disaster.”

The Israelis identified were Avraham Matzliah, 49, of Ma’ale Adumim and Shimon Re’em, 55, of Zichron Ya’akov.

A ZAKA emergency response group sent volunteers to Ethiopia just hours after the crash to identify and repatriate the remains of Re’em and Matzliah so they could be afforded a proper burial by their families back in Israel.

A family friend of the Matzliah family, Shimon Misha, told AFP that he flew to Ethiopia to help locate the remains of his friend, but was prevented by investigators. He was allowed, however, to conduct a search for Matzliah’s tefillin.

Netanyahu pays condolence visit to home of rabbi killed in West Bank

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyuahu paid a condolence call to the family of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, a father of 12 killed in a terror attack in the West Bank.

“The shock is enormous. From what I have heard about Achiad, he was an amazing person, a man of valor with nobility of soul,” the prime minister told family members on Tuesday at their home in the Eli settlement. “The pain over your loss is immense; I understand how deep it is. But I want you to know that it is a shock to the heart of the entire people.”

Family members reportedly called on Netanyahu to advance legislation to institute the death penalty for terrorists.

On Monday, Netanyahu visited the Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank where Ettinger reportedly managed to fire off four shots at the terrorist after being shot in the head and neck.

On Sunday morning Omar Abu Laila, 19, of the Az-Zawiya village allegedly stabbed and killed a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, Gal Keidan, and stole his gun, shooting at passing cars at the junction where he hit Ettinger, before getting in a car abandoned by a frightened driver. He headed to the next junction, where he shot at soldiers waiting at a bus stop.

Another 19-year-old soldier shot at the Gitai Junction was taken off a respirator on Tuesday and has regained consciousness.

9 in 10 French Jewish students report suffering campus anti-Semitism

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—Nearly 90 percent of French Jewish students said they have experienced anti-Semitic abuse on campus, a poll found.

Nearly 20 percent of the 405 respondents in the Ifop survey said they have suffered an anti-Semitic physical assault at least once on campus. Of those, more than half reported suffering violence more than once.

More than half of the students who reported experiencing anti-Semitic incidents on campus said they did nothing about it. Only 8 percent complained to faculty. Nearly 20 percent said they did not report the incident or incidents for fear of reprisals, according to the report.

The results of the survey taken this month were published Tuesday by l’Express.

In October, the French media reported that students at Paris 13 University listed and ranked Jewish classmates according to their level of affiliation as part of a string of jokes online and on campus featuring anti-Semitic hate speech. Their initial target was a 19-year-old Jewish medical student.

The Ifopsurvey, which was commissioned by the Union of Jewish Students in France, or UEJF, came on the heels of an earlier Ifop poll conducted last month about anti-Semitism. That survey of 1,008 French adults showed a decrease in the prevalence of anti-Semitic sentiment compared to a similar poll with other respondents in 2016.

In the February poll, 27 percent of respondents said Jews were richer than the average French person compared to 31 percent in 2016. Whereas 32 percent said in 2016 that Jews abuse the Holocaust to promote their interests, only 20 percent said so last month.

Israeli spacecraft Beresheet conducts final major maneuver on way to moon

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet successfully conducted its final major maneuver as it continues on its journey to the moon.

The spacecraft burned its engine for 60 seconds as it moved to an elliptical orbit around the earth that will intersect the moon’s orbit and be captured in it. The rendezvous is scheduled for April 4 at 251,655 miles from earth, SpaceIL said in a statement.

The lunar lander is expected to land on the moon’s surface on April 11.

The landing site has been identified as the northeastern part of Mare Serenitatis, or the Sea of Serenity, a flat area on the moon’s surface.

The spacecraft continues to communicate with the Israel Aerospace Industries and SpaceIL control room in Yehud in central Israel.

Stop doing balance tricks on tracks leading into the Auschwitz camp

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum in Poland urged visitors not to balance on the rails that were used to transport Jews to be murdered.

The museum  at the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp made the plea on Twitter Wednesday, sharing several pictures of people balanced on the train rails like tightrope walkers.

“When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory,” the message read. “There are better places” to work on one’s balance, it said, “than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths.”

Holocaust denier picked as congressional candidate in Spain

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA)—A far-right party in Spain has nominated a Holocaust denier as a congressional candidate.

Vox tapped Fernando Paz, an historian, this week to run in the city of Albacete, in the central part of the country, in the April 28 national elections for parliament, the Libertad Digital news site reported Wednesday.

Paz has said the facts concerning the Holocaust are “far from having been established with accuracy” and called the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals a “farce.”

In December, Vox became the first far-right party in decades to enter a regional parliament by winning 12 seats in Andalusia, far surpassing expectations.

On Wednesday, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain condemned the Paz nomination.

“In any European country where justice was served in connection with this traumatic episode of history, it is unthinkable that such a person with such views would present himself for pubic office,” the federation’s statement read.

Jewish soldier pranks family by coming home for Purim

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—A U.S. Army major played a major Purim prank on his family by showing up in an unexpected place: at home, for Purim.

Moses Scheinfeld, who has been deployed in Afghanistan for the past nine months, surprised his family by showing up at their Southern California Jewish day school’s holiday party last week.

His return was announced at the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills by its head of school, Rabbi Boruch Sufrin, as he delivered a dvar Torah to students and parents.

Scheinfeld, who is Orthodox, entered the school gym in uniform wearing a black suede kippah. His three children ran to hug him and were joined by their equally surprised mother, Rivka.   

Scheinfeld, who serves with the 40th Infantry Division of the California Army National Guard in the south of Afghanistan, brought an American flag that flew at the Army base.

He told the students at the Orthodox school that despite 18-hour days at work, he studied Torah subjects including Psalms and Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of Our Fathers, every day.

“That’s what gave me the energy to continue,” he said.

Palestinian teen who killed 2 in West Bank attack dies in shootout with Israeli forces

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—The Palestinian teen who killed two Israelis in a terror attack in the northern West Bank was shot and killed during a shootout with Israeli forces.

Israeli soldiers on Tuesday night surrounded the building in the West Bank village of Abwein where Omar Abu Laila, 19, was hiding out, in an operation coordinated with the Israel Security Agency and the border guard, according to the IDF. Israeli forces had been searching for Laila for two days, since he evaded security forces on Sunday after abandoning a stolen car at the entrance to a nearby West Bank village.

Laila fired at the soldiers that surrounded the house, according to reports, and they fired back.

On Sunday morning Laila, of the Az-Zawiya village, allegedly stabbed and killed a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, Gal Keidan, and stole his gun, shooting at passing cars at the junction where he hit Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, before getting in a car abandoned by a frightened driver. He headed to the next junction, where he shot at soldiers waiting at a bus stop.

Ettinger, who managed to fire off four shots at his attacker despite gun shots to his head and neck, died on Monday morning.

Jewish vendor and son stabbed by Egyptian colleague in Amsterdam

By Cnaan Liphshiz

AMSTERDAM (JTA)—A Jewish father and son were stabbed at an iconic street marketplace in Amsterdam by an Egypt-born seller whom they and others said was a radicalized Muslim.

Martin Colmans, the father, and son Sharon sustained light to moderate injuries in the attack Saturday at the Albert Cuyp market, where the Colmans family has been selling furniture for decades. Sharon Colmans, whose mother is from Israel, was injured in his back, chest and arm, and suffered serious blood loss. Both have been released from the hospital.

Known locally as Tarik, the alleged stabber has been selling hookahs and other smoking paraphernalia adjacent to the Colmans’ furniture shop since 2004. The stabber, who has not been named in the Dutch media, is under arrest awaiting an indictment.

Martin Colmans told De Telegraaf that the suspect had been away for several months, and that when he returned his behavior had changed. He said Tarik was “reading the Koran a lot, stopped talking to us. Shaved his head. Prayed all the time. He also began giving us nasty looks.”

Tarik had threatened a fellow seller, a Moroccan man who is not Jewish, with a knife recently, sellers told De Telegraaf.

Asked whether he believes the assault was an anti-Semitic incident, Colmans told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I don’t know, but he behaved very strangely to us in recent weeks.” Colmans also said he was “happy that we are alive” because Tarik seemed determined to kill them.

Tarik used a large knife in a stabbing that was filmed by passers-by. Fellow sellers, two men from Morocco, prevented him from inflicting further injuries. Tarik went back into his store, where police took him into custody, according to De Telegraaf.

He had had several disputes with fellow sellers, including the Colmans, before the incident, according to De Telegraaf. Tarik and the Colmans made up with help from market bosses and were back on speaking terms when the attack happened, Colmans said.


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