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

Weekly roundup of world briefs


April 26, 2019

Official US maps now show Golan Heights as part of Israel

By Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Official U.S. maps now include the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Jason Greenblatt, the top White House Middle East peace negotiator, posted a map Tuesday on his Twitter feed.

“Welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system after @POTUS issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Greenblatt said.

President Donald Trump in March recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the strategic plateau. Israel captured the heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed the area in 1981.

The Trump administration also has mostly ended the practice of referring to the West Bank as “occupied” and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, later moving its embassy there.

Jewish ICE detainee may not be getting kosher food

By Josefin Dolsten

NEW YORK (JTA)—A Jewish man being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York state has complained of receiving meals that are not strictly kosher, according to Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.

In a statement Tuesday, Velazquez said that the law enforcement agency “has a troubling pattern of ignoring important religious considerations for those of many different faiths who are in their custody.”

A day earlier, Velazquez sent a letter to ICE in which she said that Dovid Kohn, who is being detained upstate had complained that his food is not being prepared according to Jewish dietary laws.

“Mr. Kohn has expressed grievances over the preparation process employed by the facility when unwrapping products from their factory-sealed packaging,” Velazquez wrote. “In addition, there are concerns over the use of non-kosher trays to serve meals.”

In her letter, Velazquez emphasized that “Such integrity is critically important, especially since the Passover holiday is quickly approaching.”

ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said the agency was working to make sure the Kohn’s religious needs were met.

“When a complaint was brought forward, ICE began coordinating closely with an outside religious provider to ensure meal needs were being met,” Walls said in an email to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “This effort is currently underway and the agency expects a mutually agreeable outcome.”

Measles cases in Detroit area linked to haredi Orthodox traveler rise to 39

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA)—The number of people who have contracted measles in the Detroit area because of contact with a haredi Orthodox traveler has more than doubled in the past three weeks to 39.

All but one of the cases reported due to contact with the Israeli man known as “Michigan’s patient zero” are in Oakland County, The Washington Post reported Friday. The man was in the area fundraising for a Brooklyn-based charity.

The number on March 26, when the Detroit Jewish News reported the outbreak, was 18.

The Israeli had visited synagogues, businesses and yeshivas before the Purim holiday after arriving from New York, where there is a measles outbreak in some Orthodox Jewish communities.

New York City shuts down Brooklyn yeshiva preschool over measles vaccination violations

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—New York City closed a Brooklyn yeshiva’s preschool for defying a Health Department order to provide medical and attendance records regarding measles vaccinations.

The preschool at the United Talmudical Academy in the largely haredi Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood is the first yeshiva program to be shut down by the city since Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency over the measles outbreak in Brooklyn’s haredi community earlier this month.

De Blasio ordered unvaccinated people living in four ZIP codes in the Williamsburg neighborhood to get the vaccine or be required to pay fines of up to $1,000. As of Monday, New York City has confirmed 329 measles cases, nearly all in Brooklyn, since the outbreak began in October.

The preschool serves 250 students aged 3 to 5, according to The New York Times.

The Department of Health threatened to fine or even close yeshivas in Williamsburg if students who are not vaccinated against measles are allowed to attend classes. The department has issued 23 violations to yeshivas and day care facilities in connection with unvaccinated children or not complying with records requests, according to The Washington Post.

Also Monday, a group of Brooklyn parents filed a lawsuit in Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn against the mandatory measles vaccination order.

Partnership agreement signed between Chicago and Israeli nonprofit

By Jackson Richman

(JNS)—Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chemi Peres, son of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to create a partnership between “technology and innovation ecosystems.”

Chemi Peres is chair the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

The two seek to further “innovation and entrepreneurship” in the Windy City and the Jewish state by uniting business, academic, civic and government leaders, led by World Business Chicago.

“Shimon Peres believed in the transformative power of technology and innovation as a pathway to peace, and we are proud in Chicago to foster an environment that makes agreements like this possible,” said Emanuel. “Around the country and increasingly around the world, our city is known as an emerging technology and innovation hub with the workforce and education backbone that can support it.”

“This is another meaningful milestone cementing the relationship between Chicago and Israel. A broad-shoulders, can-do attitude infuses both parties, and when their innovative efforts are leveraged, great things happen, for Chicagoans and Israelis,” JUF executive vice president Jay Tcath told JNS. “From law enforcement to water research exchanges and from civil society collaborations to booming trade relations, the ties between our beloved Chicago and Israel have never been stronger.”

“From day one to these final few days as mayor, Rahm Emanuel has made deepening these ties a priority, hosting new partnerships in Chicago and leading a delegation of entrepreneurs to Israel a few years ago to explore new possibilities,” he continued. “Chicago and Israel face many daunting challenges. Among the reasons each have for optimism is their partnership, signaling what’s possible and a shared path to that better future.”

Emanuel, who is Chicago’s first Jewish mayor, did not seek re-election and will be replaced in May by Democrat Lori Lightfoot, who was elected earlier this month.

Got the munchies? Israeli company raises $1 million to infuse cannabis in pizza

(JNS)—Cannibble FoodTech Ltd., has raised more than $1 million to infuse pizza with cannabis, announced the Israeli food company on Monday.

Cannibble, through 1,100 backers, was the first to raise more than that amount by utilizing Israeli crowd-funding platform Pipelbiz, a spokesperson for the latter told Calcalist on Monday.

Founded in 2018, Cannibble infuses already-made food and beverages, including iced coffee mix, sweeteners, cake mixes, and both pizza and popcorn toppings with THC, the key ingredient in cannabis that could get consumers high, according to the company.

Earlier this month, Israel enacted a new law that decriminalize personal cannabis use and possession. And in January, Israel’s Knesset passed a bill to approve the export of medical cannabis, which could generate several hundred million in tax revenue for the state.

Jewish community reacts to fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

(JNS)—Members of the Jewish community reacted with sadness to the massive fire that burst through the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday and toppled its spire.

“Terrible images of the Cathedral of Paris in flames. Solidarity and fraternal thoughts to the Catholics of France. Immense sadness in the face of this tragedy that is burying our country,” tweeted Francis Kalifat, president of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France, the umbrella organization for Jewish organizations in France.

The roof was undergoing construction. As of Tuesday, the fire was being called an accident, though an investigation is underway.

The American Jewish Committee said it is “heartbroken.”

“This is a tragedy for Catholics, the people of France, and all who revere that majestic edifice. We are hopeful that it will be swiftly restored to its prior splendor,” tweeted AJC.

We are heartbroken following the fire at the Notre Dame. This is a tragedy for Catholics, the people of France, and all who revere that majestic edifice. We are hopeful that it will be swiftly restored to its prior splendor.

— AJC (@AJCGlobal) April 15, 2019

“Notre Dame Cathedral is an icon of the Parisian skyline and a testament to human ingenuity. Let us all hope for a speedy resolution to this tragedy before more priceless history is lost,” tweeted the World Jewish Congress.

Notre Dame Cathedral is an icon of the Parisian skyline and a testament to human ingenuity. Let us all hope for a speedy resolution to this tragedy before more priceless history is lost.

— WJC (@WorldJewishCong) April 15, 2019

“From Berlin, the heart struck in front of the flames, the ravage and the ashes. A treasure of civilization, for the one who believed in heaven and for the one who did not believe in it. The Europe of civilization, of holy hopes, of greatness and of sweetness. Struck in the heart,” tweeted French Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy.

A memorial to those deported from Vichy France to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, is located underground behind the cathedral.

White House invites Jewish leaders over for a talk

By Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—The Trump administration has invited Jewish leaders over for a briefing on “pertinent” issues.

“Gathering with Jewish leaders,” an invitation viewed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency says. “You are invited to a discussion with key Administration officials on pertinent issues impacting the community.”

It’s not clear how many Jewish leaders are invited to the meeting set for Tuesday, or what the “pertinent” issues are, or who the “key officials” are.

President Donald Trump has said he will soon be ready to release his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Jewish community officials also are concerned about security since an alleged white supremacist massacred 11 Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the worst attack ever on U.S. Jews.

Cornell’s student government rejects BDS resolution

By Jackson Richman

(JNS)—Cornell University’s student government rejected a resolution on Thursday calling for the school to divest from entities “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human-rights violations.”

The final tally done by secret ballot was 14 votes in favor, 13 votes against and one abstention, plus two “community votes” against the measure.

The motion for a secret ballot, despite its passage, violated the Student Assembly’s bylaws, which “dictate that secret ballots may only be used during executive meetings,” reported The Cornell Daily Sun.

The “community vote,” which couldn’t be split, was 248 in favor, 330 against and four abstentions. NetIDs, which is an electronic individual identifier for Cornell members, were used to check eligibility. A motion by a pro-BDS representative, senior Omar Din, to remove the two community votes was rejected by the student government.

Another resolution co-sponsor, senior Mahfuza Shovik, disparaged the anti-BDS crowd.

“It concerns me that there are people standing against this resolution without knowing the facts,” she said. “The opposition inaccurately portrayed this resolution as an act of BDS.”

However, S.A. vice president for external affairs condemned the anti-Israel measure.

“I have been extremely disappointed by the way this resolution has been handled by everyone involved,” said junior Savanna Lim. “You can’t expect a student government to solve a geopolitical crisis.”

StandWithUs and the AMCHA Initiative applauded the outcome.

“With this vote, the Student Assembly ensured that would not further divide students for an unjust cause,” said its managing director of campus affairs, Rena Nasar, in a statement.

“Good for the students for seeing through the BDS scam,” AMCHA director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told JNS. “BDS resolutions on campus, while masquerading as part of a human rights campaign, in reality are a PR device meant to divide the campus, shut down discourse and debate, and marginalize and incite hate against those students who support Israel. Largely this hate is directed against Jewish students, even those that don’t take a stand on politics or Israel advocacy.”

“The victory is a tribute to the sustained, collaborative efforts of students and community members at the university, as evidenced by the two community votes against the resolution, which proved to be decisive in the outcome,” Liel Asulin, campus coordinator for CAMERA on Campus, told JNS.

“Like all BDS resolutions, its biased, anti-Israel content fuels misinformation on the campus,” she added. “The outcome of the vote serves to reject the distorted narrative put forward and that’s important.”

Ahead of the vote, an Israeli student at Cornell, Shir Kidron, whose home was hit by a rocket launched by Hamas from Gaza was told in a Facebook comment by a pro-Palestinian campus group to “quit complaining about how it ruined your brunch plans.”

Kidron wrote in the Sun about the experience and warned about the growing ramifications of BDS.

In March, Cornell University president Martha E. Pollack rejected BDS.

XPRIZE to award $1 million to SpaceIL for orbiting moon

(JNS)—The nonprofit organization XPRIZE announced on Friday that it will award SpaceIL with a $1 million award for being just the seventh nation to orbit the moon, despite not landing on the moon on Thursday after a failure in its main engine just before touchdown caused it to crash into the lunar surface.

“SpaceIL’s mission not only touched the moon, it touched the lives and hearts of an entire world that was watching,” said XPRIZE executive chairman and founder Peter Diamandis in a statement. “The legacy SpaceIL will have on the future of the space industry is significant. This team’s ability to build a lunar lander for $100 million and less than 50 engineers is remarkable, a leap forward towards affordable and accessible space exploration. Congratulations to Morris Kahn, their primary benefactor and the entire SpaceIL team for all their accomplishments—we are so proud.”

The spacecraft “Beresheet,” named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning “in the beginning”), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 21 and almost completed its 6.5-million-kilometer journey to the lunar surface.

Immediately after the result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will make another attempt, likely in the next two to three years.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” he said.

The project started eight years ago when its co-founders attempted to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge by being the first private team to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back to Earth high-definition video and images. The contest ended in March 2018 with no winner.

However, SpaceIL’s implementers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub pressed on, acquiring the backing of multiple donors, including Kahn.

SpaceIL’s effort was assisted by NASA. Only the United States, Russia and China have landed crafts on the moon, with India working on it.

The Moonshot Award will be given to SpaceIL at the nonprofit’s annual Visioneering Summit in October “with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari.


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