Weekly roundup of world briefs
November 6, 2020
House bill introduced to counter worldwide money-laundering by Hezbollah
(JNS) — A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to counter money laundering by the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced “The Hezbollah Money Laundering Prevention Act of 2020” on Sept. 30, based upon recommendations made by the Republican Study Committee’s National Security Strategy.
If enacted, it would put a stop to Hezbollah’s money-laundering activities throughout the world, especially in Lebanon and Latin America, by requiring the president to make a determination that areas under the terrorist group’s control — in south Lebanon and in the tri-border region in South America — are “primary money-laundering concerns” under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act, which gives the U.S. Treasury secretary options to more effectively target money laundering and terrorist financing.
“This bill represents the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever proposed by Congress,” said Wilson in a statement. “By cutting off banks in areas under the terror group’s control from the international financial system, this bill will go a long way towards drying up the Iranian terror proxy’s resources to conduct murderous attacks against the U.S. and our allies.”
“This bill will make it much harder for Hezbollah to do Iran’s bidding in propping up the criminal [Bashar] Assad regime, the Houthis in Yemen, and continue to destabilize the Middle East,” he continued.
The bill has 13 co-sponsors, all Republicans.
Doctors perform life-saving surgery on baby during birth
By Abigail Klein Leichman
(Israel21c via JNS) — Doctors in Israel saved a newborn’s life on Wednesday with a rare surgical procedure performed before the boy was fully outside his mother’s body.
The “ex utero intrapartum treatment,” called EXIT, procedure during a Caesarean-section delivery at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center was planned when prenatal imaging revealed that the fetus’s airways were blocked by a growth.
They knew the fetus would be fine until his umbilical cord was cut because the placenta provides oxygen. Once the cord is detached after birth, he would not have been able to breathe.
A team of some 30 physicians prepared for the EXIT procedure, previously done in Israel only a few times, using a 3D-printed model of the fetus’s neck.
The multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses delivered the baby’s head and inserted a tracheal tube that bypassed the growth.
When they pulled the rest of his body from the womb and cut the cord, he was able to breathe through the tube.
Mother and son are reported to be in good condition. The doctors believe the airway-blocking growth may disappear on its own; otherwise, it can be surgically removed.
“I’ve been an obstetrician for over 25 years and every birth is a new source of excitement, but this was one of the special ones,” said Dr. Ariel Many, director of labor and delivery at the center’s Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital.
“To be a partner in a procedure where you’re holding the head of the fetus and treating him while he is mostly still in his mother’s womb, and then delivering this new life into the world, is a supreme, uplifting, special and touching feeling that will stay with me and the team for a long time,” said Many.
This article was first published by Israel21c.
Israel approves plan for more than 3,000 settlement homes
(JNS) — Israel approved plans for more than 3,000 settlement homes in Judea and Samaria on Thursday, a day after approving 2,000 additional homes, the AP reported.
The number of settlement homes approved in 2020 is more than 12,150, making it by far the most home approvals since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to Peace Now, a left-wing anti-settlement group.
The Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion celebrated the approval of about 1,100 housing units as part of construction plans for Pnei Kedem, Kfar Eldad, Metzad and Har Gilo.
Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said in a statement on Wednesday: “The mission of developing the communities in Judea and Samaria continues to be one of the key issues for the State of Israel and the entire nation in this era, and we are grateful for the right to be at the forefront here in Gush Etzion.”
“Sometimes, we take our prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] to task, which we feel is justified, as a result of our disappointment in postponing the application of sovereignty over our country. But now something tangible is happening — we are building and developing our communities, and of course, the highlight of today is the full registration in the Land Authority of the young community of Pnei Kedem, 20 years since it was established.”
Ivanka Trump visits the tomb of the Lubavitcher Rebbe as election nears
By Ron Kampeas
(JTA) — Ivanka Trump visited the tomb of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, as an election approaches that could oust her father from the presidency or give him another four years.
Smartphone video posted on social media captured President Donald Trump’s daughter emerging, masked, on Thursday night from the “ohel,” a modest structure in Queens where Schneerson is buried with his father-in-law. The structure is adjacent to a cemetery.
Trump had just completed his second debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, in Tennessee.
Ivanka Trump was praying for her father’s reelection, according to Yeshiva World News, which did not give attribution for the claim. In 2016, she and her husband, Jared Kushner, visited the ohel to pray for her father’s election.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner are Orthodox Jews. Praying adjacent to the tomb of Schneerson, who died in 1994, is considered by many Jews to be especially powerful.
This year’s World Zionist Congress is taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A 35-year-old Jewish deli in Denver has closed amid the pandemic’s pressure on restaurants
By Philissa Cramer
(JTA) — A 35-year-old family-owned Jewish deli in Denver has closed, seven months after the pandemic began pummeling restaurants.
Zaidy’s Deli, located in Cherry Creek, a neighborhood that is home to many of Denver’s Jewish institutions, announced its decision in a Facebook post Wednesday night.
“We’ve hosted many life-cycle events, your son’s Bris, your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, and we’ve celebrated love by catering your weddings. We’ve remembered and mourned those you’ve lost and provided sustenance for your Shiva. And we’ve loved every moment,” wrote Gerald and Jason Rudolfsky, the father-and-son team behind Zaidy’s.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve made the decision to stop compromising the integrity and quality of our renowned Jewish comfort food in order to stay open, no matter how much we wish we could,” they added, before thanking Denver’s Jewish community and others who had shown support for the beleaguered deli.
The Facebook post drew more than 100 comments from locals describing their favorite Zaidy’s meals and memories, including one who said Zaidy’s offered “by far the best Jewish deli food in town.” Denver, with about 90,000 Jews in the metro area, boasts several delis, including two that are kosher.
Among the many restaurants to fold during the pandemic have been several kosher restaurants in New York City and Seattle’s only certified kosher dining option, a vegan Chinese restaurant called Bamboo Garden.
In trailer for ‘Esau,’ Shira Haas and Harvey Keitel star in Israeli film based on Meir Shalev novel
By Gabe Friedman
(JTA) — The first trailer is out for “Esau,” a new movie loosely based on a biblical sibling rivalry that was filmed in Israel and boasts an all-star cast of Jewish actors.
“Esau,” a drama based on the novel by the same name by Israeli author Meir Shalev, stars Shira Haas, Harvey Keitel and Lior Ashkenazi.
The story is a modern spin of the story of Jacob and Esau. Ashkenazi, who is known to international audiences for his roles in the Israeli indie hit “Foxtrot” and alongside Richard Gere in “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” stars as the protagonist, a writer who returns home to Israel to help care for his ailing father, played by Harvey Keitel. His brother, played by Mark Ivanir (you’ve seen him in “Away,” “Kajillionaire,” “Schindler’s List”), has married the woman they both loved and taken over the family’s bakery business.
Haas, who broke out in the Israeli series “Shtisel” and was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for her lead role in the Netflix series “Unorthodox,” plays the young brothers’ love interest.
“Esau” will be released on streaming platforms on Dec. 1. It is directed and co-scripted by Russian filmmaker Pavel Lungin. The English-language film was produced in Israel.
“My film is a story of great love, return and merciless time. It tells us that there are things in life when time is not a great healer at all, and there are sorts of mistakes that simply shouldn’t be made,” Lungin told JTA in a statement.
Satmar rabbi denounces Borough Park protests
By Shira Hanau
(JTA) — A leader of a major Hasidic sect denounced protests earlier this month where local Orthodox Jews voiced their anger at lockdown measures targeting their neighborhoods.
Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, leader of a faction of the Satmar Hasidic community based in Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic enclave in New York’s Orange County, denounced the protests Tuesday at an event in Borough Park, the Brooklyn neighborhood where the protests took place.
“None of you should be seen at these protests,” Teitelbaum told the crowd, according to BoroPark24. “Praise unto the person who doesn’t follow in the ways of the evil.”
The protests took place over two nights earlier this month and were called in response to new restrictions placed on Orthodox neighborhoods aimed at curbing rising COVID-19 test positivity rates in those neighborhoods. Violence broke out at both protests, with masks burned in the streets and journalists chased and surrounded by mobs.
Heshy Tischler, a local radio host, ex-convict and City Council hopeful, was arrested after he led a mob that surrounded a reporter and member of the Hasidic community at one of the protests.
Israeli president lays wreath at Rabin’s grave on 25th anniversary of assassination
(JNS) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin laid a wreath on the grave of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday to mark the 25th anniversary of his assassination.
“This year, too, we are marking the day of remembrance, despite the state of emergency in which we find ourselves, despite the restrictions the coronavirus imposes on us,” said Rivlin, according to a statement from his office.
“We are determined to mark this important day because these memorial ceremonies are links in the chain that binds us to our people that connect us to ourselves, to our history and to our roots,” he continued.
“Insisting on holding this day of remembrance is our way of declaring that the memory of Yitzhak Rabin belongs to us, to us all,” he concluded.
Rabin was murdered by Bar-Ilan University law student and right-wing activist Yigal Amir on Nov. 4, 1995, during a rally in Tel Aviv.
The rally was held to celebrate the Oslo peace process between the Israeli government and PLO chief Yasser Arafat, brokered by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.
IAEA: Iran has begun construction on underground nuclear facility
(JNS) — International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi confirmed on Tuesday that Iran has begun construction on an underground centrifuge-assembly plant after a previous one exploded in what the regime claimed was an act of sabotage.
The explosion in question took place in July at the Natanz nuclear site, previously the target of the Stuxnet cyber attack, reportedly a joint U.S.-Israel maneuver.
After the explosion in the summer, Iran said it would build a new site in the mountains.
“They have started, but it’s not completed,” Grossi said in an interview with AP in Berlin. “It’s a long process.”
Grossi said the IAEA doesn’t think that Iran has a “significant quantity” of uranium “to indicate amounts which could be theoretically used for the development of a nuclear weapon.”
However, he added, “all of these are projections, and the IAEA is not into speculation. What may happen? What could happen? We are inspectors, we say the amounts that we see.”
Palestinians press for international peace conference to renew talks with Israel
(JNS) — Top Palestinian diplomat Riad Malki on Monday called for an international peace conference as the only way to renew talks with Israel, AP reported.
According to the report, this comes on the heels of a similar call last month by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
During his speech, Abbas called for such an international conference to take place in early 2021, and for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to prepare for the event with the Quartet of Middle East mediators, made up of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft did not rule out the idea, but expressed doubt that it would be successful.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said that Israel opposes the Palestinian initiative, pointing to Abbas’s having rejected “every peace offer made by the State of Israel,” including the current rejection of normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and, most recently, Sudan.
Soccer leagues in Israel, UAE reach cooperation agreement
(JNS) —The soccer leagues of Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that they reached an agreement on Tuesday about future play.
The heads of the Israeli Professional Football League and UAE Pro League signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would include matches between the teams of each country, reported the AP.
This move comes after the signing of the Abraham Accords on Sept. 15 between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.
Following the normalization agreement, the Al-Nasr SC soccer team based in Dubai signed Israeli national team midfielder Dia Saba, who became the first Israeli to play on a team in an Arab Gulf state.
High school journalists uncover Hitler quotes in Kentucky police training materials
By Philissa Cramer
(JTA) — A report by Louisville, Kentucky, high school students has drawn national attention to local police training materials that quoted Adolf Hitler admiringly.
Hitler was the most-quoted person in a Kentucky State Police training presentation that encouraged officers to be “ruthless killers,” according to the report that appeared Friday in the Manual Redeye, the student newspaper of Louisville’s DuPont Manual High School. The presentation quotes from Mein Kampf and links to Hitler’s page on a social networking site about books, according to the report.
The student journalists, brothers Satchel and Cooper Walton, obtained the presentation because they are related to a partner at a law firm that had requested training materials as part of its work in a case related to a 2018 police killing, their article disclosed.
The report swiftly drew widespread attention from national news organizations and clarification from the state that the presentation had not been used since 2013. It also elicited condemnation from Kentucky officials and Jewish leaders.
“I am angry. As a Kentuckian, I am angry and embarrassed. And as a Jewish American, I am genuinely disturbed that there are people like this who not only walk among us, but who have been entrusted to keep us safe. There needs to be consequences,” tweeted Rep. John Yarmuth, the Democrat who represents Louisville in Congress. In a second tweet, Yarmuth said the presentation reflected “a poisonous culture that has gotten too many innocent people harassed and killed.”
Louisville has been one center of national protests against police killings this year, after officers there shot and killed Breonna Taylor in March during a botched overnight raid on her apartment.