Weekly roundup of world briefs


Israeli and American Jews know little about each other, new study finds

By Shira Hanau

(JTA) — American and Israeli Jews don’t know much about one another, according to a study released Monday.

Still, both groups expressed an affinity for the other in the poll by the American Jewish Committee.

Among American Jews, a total of 40 percent said their knowledge of Israelis was either nonexistent or weak, and another 21 percent ranked their knowledge of Israelis as medium, while 37 percent said they received a “strong” education about Israel.

Among Israeli Jews, a total of 69 percent said they did not receive any education about Diaspora Jews or it was “not comprehensive,” while 20 percent said it was “so-so” and 11 percent said it was comprehensive.

Among American Jews, 60 percent said being connected to Israel is important to their Jewish identity. Among the Israelis, 75 percent see a thriving Diaspora as vital to the future of the Jewish people.

Those Israelis who had learned more about Diaspora Jews in formal settings showed a greater interest in learning more about Diaspora Jews than those who had learned less.

The survey of Americans was conducted March 25-May 9 and the one in Israel in May. Both had 1,000 respondents. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Zionist movement umbrella ousts rabbi at the center of harassment dispute

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — The World Confederation of United Zionists, one of several groupings within the World Zionist Organization, let go of its secretary-general, American-born Rabbi Dov Lipman, citing his dispute with two women who say he sexually harassed them.

Haaretz, which first broke the story of the harassment allegations, reported Monday that the confederation’s chairman, David Yaari, notified the World Zionist Organization of Lipman’s departure last month after the allegations were made public.

“Given the grave allegations against former MK Dov Lipman, it was decided to part ways in order to focus on CUZ’s vital work within the global Zionist forum,” Yarri told Haaretz in a statement.

Lipman, who is from the Washington, D.C., area, is a former Knesset member from the Yesh Atid party.

He denied to Haaretz that he had been fired, saying he had left of his own accord to devote more time to helping new immigrants to Israel settle and assimilate, the work he is best known for.

Lipman has denied the harassment allegations, which first arose on a private Facebook page. He has sued the two women making the accusations, and they have countersued.

The two women, like Lipman, are members of the Modern Orthodox community in Beit Shemesh, a city near Jerusalem. They said the harassment occurred when they and Lipman were part of a movement to push back against haredi Orthodox harassment of Modern Orthodox women and girls in the city over modesty and other perceived religious infractions.

Swastika discovered on ark at Frankfurt airport synagogue

By Shira Hanau

(JTA) — A swastika was found scrawled on the ark at a synagogue at the Frankfurt International Airport in Germany Friday, according to the German publication Bild. It is unclear when the swastika was drawn, as the airport synagogue has been closed for several months due to the pandemic.

A German organization of Orthodox rabbis condemned the vandalism at the airport in a statement.

“It is simply sad. This hatred of Jews must finally stop,” the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference said, according to the Associated Press. “The ugly grimace of antisemitism does not stop even in a highly secured area, at a place of encounter, silence and stopping, where people from all over the world meet briefly while traveling and are in transit.”

The swastika was discovered less than a week after a fire was set outside a synagogue in Ulm, about 70 miles northwest of Munich, in what police suspect was an attempted arson attack. The vandalism comes on the heels of a wave of antisemitism following the conflict in Israel and Gaza last month and at a time when some European Jews are saying the fight against antisemitism in Europe is one that cannot be won.

TV broadcaster in Spain accuses Israeli swimming duo of cover for ‘genocide’

(JNS) — While two Israeli swimmers took to the podium to await the results in their final qualifying tournament before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, a broadcaster with a TV station in Spain took the opportunity to make anti-Israel and anti-Semitic remarks. The competition took place from June 10-13 in Barcelona

According to Combat Antisemitism Movement, which posted about it earlier on Monday, “instead of highlighting the achievement of these Israeli athletes, Spanish channel @tv3cat’s commentator blames them for the killing of Palestinians and accused them of serving as a cover for ‘genocide.’ This inciteful rhetoric is a dangerous blood libel.”

Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritzky, who competed in the artistic-duets category, are ranked sixth after Sunday’s qualifying competition, according to FINA, which oversees several of the aquatic categories internationally.

They will be among nine artistic-duets teams to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in late July.

US embassy warns citizens to avoid Jerusalem flag march

(JNS) — The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem announced a “Demonstration Alert” on Monday evening, prohibiting its employees and their family members to join a planned flag march in the Old City on Tuesday, as possible counterdemonstrations are likely.

“U.S. citizens can take this into account when making their own travel plans,” read the embassy alert. “As security incidents often take place without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” it said.

It came as the Israel Defense Forces beefed up deployment of Iron Dome air-defense batteries throughout the country as tensions rise with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, a report by Kan news said on Monday evening.

Hamas and Fatah have called for a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday in Jerusalem and areas of the West Bank in response to the planned march.

IDF beefs up Iron Dome batteries ahead of Jerusalem flag march

(JNS) — The Israel Defense Forces have beefed up the deployment of Iron Dome air-defense systems throughout the country as tensions rise with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, a report by Kan News said on Monday evening, the day before a planned flag march in Jerusalem is set to go ahead.

The Israeli defense establishment assesses that Hamas is unlikely to launch rockets, according to the report, but that violent disturbances in Jerusalem and surrounding areas are also distinct possibilities.

Hamas and Fatah have called for a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday in Jerusalem and areas of the West Bank in response to the planned march.

Last week, Israel requested Egyptian intermediaries to “calm Hamas down ahead of the march,” said the report, adding that Israel said it reserved its right to hold the flag march in a non-provocative manner. Interior Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev approved the Jerusalem event following a situation assessment meeting held with security chiefs.

Thousands of police officers will fan out across the Jerusalem area and other potential hot spots on Tuesday in the north, as well as in Lod, which saw violent Arab-Israeli rioting last month during the 11-day conflict with Hamas.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said the military is prepared for the possibility of a resumption of fighting in the Palestinian arena, saying that the situation “is explosive,” according to a report by Walla.

“As far as the IDF is concerned, the past is not what the future will be,” Kochavi was quoted as saying in reference to IDF responses to future possible attacks by Hamas on Israel.

Republican voters likelier to see antisemitism when Ilhan Omar’s name is attached to a statement, poll finds

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — Republican voters are much likelier to regard a statement grouping Israel with Hamas as antisemitic if they know Ilhan Omar said it, according to a poll published Wednesday.

Asked to assess a tweet by the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, 36% of Republican respondents to the Morning Consult/Politico poll said they saw it as antisemitic without knowing Omar said it. That rose to 47% for Republican respondents who were told it was Omar.

The June 7 tweet said, “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Democrats were marginally less likely to think the statement was antisemitic if they were told Omar was being quoted. Among those who did not know Omar was being quoted, 31 percent said it was antisemitic, while 27 percent said the same if they were told Omar had said it.

Among voters overall, 31 percent thought it was antisemitic not knowing Omar had said it, while 35 percent thought it was antisemitic knowing she had said it.

The tweet set off days of tensions within the Democratic Party. Twelve Jewish lawmakers said it could be seen as covering for terrorism and asked Omar to clarify the statement. Omar did clarify what she meant, but also accused the Jewish Democrats of engaging in Islamaphobic tropes.

Omar explained that the tweet, which included a video of an exchange the same day with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was challenging the Biden administration’s opposition to the International Criminal Court prosecuting alleged war crimes in the Gaza and Afghanistan conflicts, and was not likening Israel and the United States to the Taliban and Hamas.

Morning Consult said the June 11-13 poll of 1,994 voters had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Glasgow police charge Jewish ‘anarchist cafe’ owner for displaying slogan that curses cops

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The Jewish owners of a cafe in Scotland decided to use their shop display to advertise their views on law enforcement.

For months, a bag emblazoned with the words “f— the police” decorated the facade of The Pink Peacock in Glasgow, a hub for Jewish activists with an affinity for Yiddish and far-left causes, including anarchism.

It also features a Palestinian flag and the slogan “Jews and Queers for a Free Palestine” and a poster promoting a Yom Kippur Ball, a party that the owners threw in 2019 on the Jewish Day of Atonement because it’s “feasting and rejoicing in the Jewish anarchist tradition,” as the poster states.

On Monday, police in Glasgow addressed at least one provocative item: They confiscated the bag and charged one of the owners, 32-year-old Morgan Holleb, of committing a breach of the peace – a criminal offense in that part of the United Kingdom.

Two police officers seized the bag, calling it evidence, as Joe Isaac, another founder of The Pink Peacock, filmed the incident.

On Twitter, the founders wrote that the incident was “an obvious attempt to intimidate us” — and it “won’t work.”

A police spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday that the police were there following complaints by residents.

In the video filmed by Isaac, Holleb is seen replacing the English-language tote bag with another in Yiddish. It reads “daloy polizei,” which means “down with the police.”

The officers didn’t seem to mind the Yiddish-language bag.

Brigade ready to ‘liberate the Golan’

(JNS) — The pro-Iranian Shi’ite Iraqi Al-Nujaba movement announced that its Golan Liberation Brigade is ready to embark on a campaign to “liberate the Golan” when the Syrian government gives the command, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor.

In an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Ahed News website, spokesman Naser Al-Shammari said the brigade’s fighters have received advanced training and have weapons that can attack deep inside Israel.

Shammari said that “the Golan Liberation Brigade was established by the Al-Nujaba movement to serve as its main pathway to participation with the brothers in Syria in the campaign to liberate the Golan [Heights], which is drawing nearer every day.”

He voiced support for the proposal by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that a violation in Jerusalem would mean regional war.

In a speech last month marking the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, he expressed his “personal opinion” that a new equation should be determined to deter Israel, according to which “[a violation] in Jerusalem means regional war.” He claimed that all resistance movements would join against the Jewish state.

The Al-Nujaba spokesman also said that such a war would include all territory controlled by the axis of resistance and would attack not only Israeli interests but those of the United States, in addition to others in the region that collaborate with America and Israel.

The militia said the brigade was formed in 2017.

IDF strikes targets in Gaza after incendiary devices flown into Israel

(JNS) — Just hours after a flag parade in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday saw clashes between Jews and Arabs, marked by both injuries and arrests by police, the Israel Defense Forces said it had struck terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday.

The airstrikes were also in response to a flurry of incendiary balloons launched by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into southern Israel, causing a number of arson fires.

“A short while ago, warplanes raided military compounds belonging to Hamas, which were used as camps and meeting sites for terrorist operatives in Khan Yunis and Gaza districts,” the IDF posted on Twitter. “Terrorist activities have taken place inside the compounds.”

“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, including renewed fighting, in the face of the continuation of terrorist acts emanating” from Gaza, the Israeli military said in a tweet.

It was the first resumption of attacks since a ceasefire was put into place on May 21 between Israel and Hamas after 11 previous days of fighting.

The strikes also came as a new government was sworn in on Sunday, replacing longtime Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of the Yamin Party.

Four fires in southern Israel caused by arson balloons sent from Gaza

(JNS) — Palestinian terrorists released arson balloons from Gaza towards Israel for the second day in a row on Wednesday, leading to four fires in agricultural areas in southern Israel.

The Israeli cabinet is deliberating on whether or not to respond to the latest arson attacks, Kan reported.

The incidents came just hours after the Israeli Air Force struck Hamas compounds in Gaza overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, in response to Tuesday’s arson balloons.

In Tuesday’s attacks, an estimated 120 dunams (about 30 acres) of forests were destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces reported that one of its soldiers fired on and hit a suspect who hurled an explosive device at Israeli forces south of Nablus in the West Bank on Wednesday.

The soldier spotted dozens of Palestinians approaching them in the area of Givat Eviatar, said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

“One of the Palestinians ran towards the soldier and hurled a suspicious object at him, which exploded adjacent to the soldier. In response, the soldier operated to stop the suspect by firing into the air and then by firing towards him. A hit was identified. No IDF injuries were reported,” the military said.


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