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Weekly roundup of world briefs

 

January 10, 2020



Graffiti featuring Star of David and ‘9 11’ painted on buildings in North London

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Graffiti featuring a Star of David and “9 11” was painted on buildings on several streets in North London.

The graffiti, discovered on a synagogue and store windows in Hampstead and Belsize Park on Sunday morning, seems to refer to a conspiracy theory that Jewish people were responsible for the attack on the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.

The neighborhoods in which the graffiti was painted are home to large Jewish populations. One of the buildings vandalized was formerly an Israeli-style restaurant.

“This is a reminder that anti-Semitism is still with us,” the Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted.

Guardian Angels will patrol Brooklyn Jewish neighborhoods

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The Guardian Angels said it would start patrolling in Brooklyn after an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the area.

The group’s founder, Curtis Sliwa, told NBC News that the patrols would start on Sunday, first at noon in Crown Heights and later in the day also in Williamsburg and Borough Park.

The Guardian Angels is a private, unarmed crime-prevention group.

The announcement came in the wake of at least eight attacks on Jews in Brooklyn since Dec. 13, and hours before an attack on a Hanukkah party at a Hasidic rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York in Rockland County, that left five injured, two seriously.

Sliwa said local leaders of the Lubavitch-Chabad movement asked for his group’s help. He said that he believes the Guardian Angels patrols will stop the attacks.

“We’re a visual deterrence in our red berets and our red satin jackets,” he said. “Nobody’s going to commit an attack when we’re around.”

22-year-old Hasidic man punched and taunted by two women in Brooklyn

By Laura E. Adkins

NEW YORK (JTA)—Two women yelled “F*** you Jew” and “I will kill you Jews” at a Hasidic man in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and shoved him to the ground when he tried to film their anti-Semitic tirade, law enforcement sources and witnesses told CBS12.

The 22 year-old victim was approached by the women, ages 24 and 34, at the intersection of Broadway and Lorimer Street, the New York City Police Department told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The 24-year-old grabbed the victim’s cell phone and punched him in his throat and the 34-year-old made anti-Semitic remarks, according to the NYPD.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of violent attacks against Hasidic Jews in the New York area in recent months, including a machete attack in Monsey that left 5 injured.

In addition, on Monday evening, according to local reports, two men—one flashing a knife—threatened a Jewish teen in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The two men yelled “Hey Jew boy” at the teen as one pulled out the knife, the New York Post reported.

There are two synagogues located within a block of where the incident occurred, according to the report. A report detailing the incident was filed with police.

West Virginia will give Holocaust education to its corrections department staff

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—West Virginia plans to introduce instruction about the Holocaust for its corrections department staff.

The decision comes a day after the announcement that more than 30 correctional academy trainees were fired for giving a Nazi salute in a class photo.

The regional Anti-Defamation League chapter will draft the training materials and coursework, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

The photo of dozens of participants in the basic training class making the Nazi salute reads “Hail Byrd!” at the top, a reference to their correctional academy instructor, Karrie Byrd.

According to a report by state investigators, the trainees regularly gave the Nazi salute “as a sign of respect” for their instructor in the weeks prior to the release of the photo.

Byrd told investigators that she was unaware of the “historical or racial implications of the gesture” and said it was “simply a greeting,” according to the report, NBC News reported. Other sources suggest that Byrd encouraged the salute.

“The investigation disclosed that she encouraged it, reveled in it, and at times reciprocated the gesture,” the report said.

Two correctional academy trainers and a cadet from the class shown in the picture were fired when the photo came to light in early December.

“This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of state government,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday in a statement announcing the firings.

Danny Danon’s term as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations extended at last minute

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The term of Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, was extended just hours before it was set to expire.

The Prime Minister’s Office told Israel’s Channel 12 that Danon’s term will be extended through May in order to allow him to complete a five-year term in office and so that his children can complete the school year.

The decision came hours after reports in the Israeli media that Danon’s term would not be extended, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit if he can make a permanent appointment while heading an interim government, with no immediate response.

There currently are no Israeli ambassadors to Russia, Canada and Egypt, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Jewish groups to hold solidarity march in New York City

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Jewish groups held a solidarity march in New York City under the banner “No Hate. No Fear.”

The Jan. 5 event came in the wake of attacks in Monsey, Jersey City and Brooklyn.

The march left from Lower Manhattan and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by a rally in Columbus Park.

“In light of the ongoing and persistent attacks against our community, it’s time for us to come together and demonstrate our collective resolve,” the organizers said.

The sponsors are the UJA-Federation of New York along with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the Anti-Defamation League of New York, the American Jewish Committee of New York and the New York Board of Rabbis.

Tesla expected to hit Israeli roads, launching in 2020

The car’s starting price is estimated at around $72,300 (about NIS 250,000).

(JNS) —Tesla will start to hit Israeli roads come January. Globes first reported the development on Monday.

The electric-car company, founded by Elon Musk, will open a pop-up store in the Ramat Aviv Mall in North Tel Aviv.

It will allow customers, for a fee, to place advanced orders for a vehicle. The car’s starting price is estimated to be around $72,300 (about NIS 250,000), reported Calcalist.

Tesla registered last month as a fully owned subsidiary company in the Jewish state, named Tesla Motors Israel Ltd., reported Globes.

Gas pumping from Israel’s offshore Leviathan field gets underway

Leviathan field goes online, paving the way for multibillion-dollar gas-export deals with Egypt, Jordan • “For first time since its establishment, Israel is now an energy powerhouse,” says Delek Drilling CEO.

Gas pumping from Israel’s offshore Leviathan field gets underway

(JNS)—Gas pumping from Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural-gas field got under way on Tuesday after Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry said Noble Energy and its partners had met all necessary conditions, despite ongoing protests from coastal residents and environmental activists warning of pollution emitted by the pumping rigs.

The largest energy project in Israel’s history, it is expected that the Leviathan field will yield 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. After extraction, the gas will then make a 120-kilometer journey via pipelines to a processing platform 10 kilometers off the Israeli coast.

From there, the processed gas and stabilized condensate will be transported by pipeline to the national gas transmission system and pipeline.

“For the first time since its establishment, Israel is now an energy powerhouse, able to supply all its energy needs and gaining energy independence,” said Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu, a partner in the field. “At the same time, we will be exporting natural gas to Israel’s neighbors, thus strengthening Israel’s position in the region. [The] Leviathan project will bring the coal era in Israel to an end, and will supply efficient, inexpensive and clean energy to people in Israel and in the Middle East.”

Residents along the coast have expressed concern over the possible carcinogenic effects of chemicals and pollutants from the project, with thousands of residents of Zichron Yaakov and areas south of Haifa even evacuating their homes and shuttering schools as nitrogen was flushed from pipes during initial tests on Tuesday.

The Environmental Protection Ministry, however, said there was no cause for concern.

Earlier this month, a petition to Jerusalem’s District Court argued that the single eight-hour test on Tuesday would release more pollutants than two years of drilling operations.

The court ruled that the tests could move forward, citing the petitioners’ failure to provide expert testimony refuting the state’s claims that the test would be safe.

In October, the scientific journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review found that environmental impact assessments by Noble Energy “grossly underestimate” the volume emissions that will be spewed into Israel’s air, contain “a series of flaws,” rely on “overly simplistic” models and should be redone.

Noble Energy rejected the article, saying it was installing technology on the platform that would keep emissions close to zero.

Volunteer group Guardian Angels patrols Brooklyn after anti-Semitic attacks

(JNS)—A private, volunteer-based and unarmed crime-prevention group said it would start patrolling parts of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday following a string of anti-Semitic attacks in the borough.

Curtis Sliwa, who founded Guardian Angels in New York City in 1979, said patrols would start in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, and expand to Williamsburg and Borough Park later in the day.

Hours earlier, on Saturday night, five people were stabbed in an attack at a Hanukkah event in Monsey, N.Y., upstate in Rockland County.

There has been a total of eight attacks on Jews in Brooklyn since Dec. 13, according to police. On Friday, a woman slapped three females in Brooklyn and told police officers that it was because they were Jewish. Other incidents involved victims being hit in the face, the head and the back of the head, as well as at least one having a beverage thrown at them, said police.

Sliwa said local leaders of the Lubavitch Chassidic movement asked for assistance from his group, and he believes that the Guardian Angels can stop the violence.

He said, “We’re a visual deterrence in our red berets and our red satin jackets. Nobody’s going to commit an attack when we’re around.” If they do, he added, “We’ll physically restrain the persons responsible, make a citizen’s arrest and hold them until the police arrive.”

“These attacks are taking place, and the cops have not been proactive at all,” said Sliwa on Saturday. “It comes from City Hall and the mayor. He’s been just apathetic.”

Israel’s population on the eve of the new year hits 9.14 million

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel’s population grew by 1.9 percent to 9.14 million in 2019.

The Central Bureau of Statistics released the statistics on Tuesday, the last day of 2019.

The breakdown of the population includes 6.772 million Jewish citizens, or 74.1 percent; 1.916 million Arab citizens, or 21 percent;  and 448,000, or 4.9 percent, classified as “other,” including Russian-speaking immigrants who are not Jewish.

Some 177,000 new births were recorded in 2019, 74 percent to Jewish mothers and 22.3 percent to Arab mothers.

Just over one-fifth of the population increase, or 34,000, came from immigration, according to the bureau.

Over 90,000 Jews celebrate the end of a Talmud study cycle together in New Jersey

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Over 90,000 mostly Orthodox Jews gathered under heavy security at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to celebrate Siyum HaShas, the completion of the study of the entire Talmud.

The 7.5-year cycle is known as Daf Yomi, since participants study a one full page of the 2,711-page text each day. The event on Sunday, organized by Agudath Israel of America, was the 13th completion of the cycle.

Several thousand people also gathered in Barclay’s Center in New York to watch the program via live video hookup, and people around the world watched it online.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy attended the MetLife event, later tweeting: “As we celebrated #SiyumHaShas at @MetLifeStadium today, we held the victims of the horrific antisemitic attacks in Jersey City and Monsey in our hearts. We will drive out darkness with light by always standing with our Jewish community. Anti-Semitism and hate have no home here.”

More than 50 law enforcement agencies and over 300 uniformed state police were in the stadium, according to CBS New York.

The first Siyum Hashas took place on Feb. 2, 1931 in several cities in Europe and in Jerusalem, as well as in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Want to study Daf Yomi? Click here to sign up for My Jewish Learning’s free email series exploring insights from each page of the Talmud. Emails begin Jan. 5, 2020.

Aussie Jewish family on the fires: ‘It’s apocalyptic but we’re coping’

By Henry Benjamin

SYDNEY (JTA)—Martine and Gavin Folden expected to be busy on New Year’s Eve hosting diners at their Kangaroo Valley restaurant in New South Wales, Australia. Instead, they are camping out after being evacuated as bush fires threaten their property.

The Foldens and their two children—Yumi, 11 and Cisco 9—are sleeping in a caravan in Berry, about 12 miles from their home nearly 90 miles from Sydney. They are accompanied by two horses, two dogs and two cats.

“It’s apocalyptic but we’re coping,” Martine Folden told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. ” We’ve been here a couple of days and we don’t know how long we will have to stay. Until the fire danger passes at least.”

Folden said the family was staying in a caravan from the 1970s that has no cooking facilities. But the most distressing aspect is the evacuation’s impact on their restaurant, Betty’s Bar.

“This is the two-week period when we make a large portion of our income,” Folden said. “So many businesses that are along the coast have been affected by the fires over the last two weeks.”

Folden said the family was permitted to visit their property and she checked on farm animals that had been left behind. She discovered that the fire had so far not reached their property.

The fires have destroyed more than 1,300 homes and burned over 13.5 million acres across the country. Suburbs of cities including Sydney and Melbourne, home to several million people and large Jewish communities, also have been hit by brush fires. 

2 men flash knife at Brooklyn Jewish teen

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Two men, one flashing a knife, threatened a Jewish teen in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The incident took place on Monday evening, according to local reports.

The two men yelled “Hey Jew boy” at the teen as one pulled out the knife, the New York Post reported.

There are two synagogues located within a block of where the incident occurred, according to the report.

A report detailing the incident was filed with police.

Palestinian teen attempts to stab soldiers

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—A Palestinian teen attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The attacker, 15, got out of a taxi at the junction brandishing a knife and ran toward a group of soldiers, Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

One of the soldiers fired at the assailant, shooting him in the leg. The attacker was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaarey Tzedek hospital in moderate condition, the Kan national broadcaster reported. 

 

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