Weekly roundup of world briefs
July 9, 2021
Phoenix Children’s Hospital fires doctor after she accused Israel of ‘cannibalism’ on social media
By Ben Sales
(JTA) — A Palestinian-American pediatric radiologist has been fired from her position at Phoenix Children’s Hospital after her social media post accusing Israel of “cannibalism” was called out by an antisemitism watchdog.
On Monday, the Twitter account @StopAntisemites shared a screenshot of a May 26 Facebook post by Dr. Fidaa Wishah, in which Wishah wrote “We will expose the #massacre and #genocide you Zionists are proud of.”
“We will uncover your thirst to kill our Palestinian children… A state based on atrocity, inhumanity, racism and cannibalism never lasts long!” she wrote. “Hey #israel… your end is coming sooner than you think.”
The message was retweeted hundreds of times. Two days later, Phoenix Children’s replied to the tweet that Wishah had been fired.
“After a thorough review of the facts related to this matter, this individual is no longer providing care at Phoenix Children’s,” the hospital’s tweet said.
The post in question is no longer visible on Wishah’s Facebook profile, and her Instagram account is private, but in a video apparently from her Instagram account that was posted to Twitter, she says she is being censored and that any allegations that she would treat “Zionist” or Israeli patients differently are “false claims.”
“I want to thank everyone who’s standing by me and who’s standing with the cause,” she said in the video. “In a country that claims freedom of speech, when it comes to Palestine-Israel, we are definitely censored.”
Eva Schloss, who had fled Austria as a child and later befriended Anne Frank, reclaims citizenship at 92
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — A 92-year-old Jewish woman who fled her native Austria as a child to escape the Nazis, and later befriended the famed diarist Anne Frank, has reclaimed her Austrian citizenship.
Eva Schloss, whose mother was the second wife of Otto Frank, Anne’s father, received papers identifying her as an Austrian citizen on Monday at a ceremony at the Austrian Embassy in London. Schloss has been living in the British capital for the past 70 years, the Jewish News of London reported.
“The Austrians are sorry about what has happened. We can’t carry on the hatred and discrimination any more. The Nazis are not with us,” she said at the ceremony.
Schloss’ family fled Austria in 1938 after it was incorporated into Nazi Germany. They settled in Belgium and later in the Netherlands, where Schloss befriended Anne Frank in Amsterdam.
After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Franks went into hiding but were caught in 1944. Anne penned the diaries that later made her one of the world’s best-known Holocaust victims. She died at a Nazi camp in 1945. Her sister and mother also perished.
Schloss’ parents also were caught in hiding in Amsterdam and sent to the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. She and her mother survived, but her father was killed. In 1953, Schloss’ mother, Fritzi, married Otto.
In the United Kingdom, Schloss co-founded the Anne Frank Trust, a charity that focuses on Holocaust education. On Monday she was awarded the Austrian government’s Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria.
Sen. Chuck Schumer asks UK not to take 2-year-old Jewish girl off life support
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is making the U.S. part of a fight to keep British doctors from taking a 2-year-old Jewish girl off life support.
Schumer, who is Jewish, wrote to Britain’s U.S. ambassador, Karen Pierce, on Wednesday asking her government to prevent medical authorities from making any irreversible moves concerning Alta Fixsler, who has been on life support in a Manchester hospital since her birth due to natal complications.
“I urge that all health decisions that are against the wishes of the family be suspended until the citizenship process is complete and Alta can travel to the U.S. with her U.S. citizen father, Mr. Abraham Fixsler,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, wrote.
Last month, a top British court ruled against the family’s petition to have Alta moved to Israel after medical authorities’ decided to pull the plug on the machines keeping her alive. Taking Alta off life support goes against their religious beliefs, the haredi Orthodox parents said, and there may be hope for Alta recovering. Medical personnel expected Alta to die within days of being born.
The action has been delayed amid further appeals by the parents.
Israel’s government has also urged the British authorities to prevent Alta from being taken off life support and want the family to be permitted to move to Israel.
The United States is widely seen as the United Kingdom’s most important ally.
Hungarian Jews protest ‘gay propaganda law’
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — Jewish groups in Hungary have condemned a new law in the country that forbids sharing content on homosexuality with minors.
Called the “gay propaganda law,” the legislation passed last week in parliament follows similar moves in Russia in 2013 that define written or visual materials pertaining to sex reassignment or homosexuality as propaganda that should not be allowed to reach children.
The measure, which President Janos Ader signed Wednesday, has triggered a diplomatic spat between Hungary and other member states of the European Union.
The Golem Theater, a Budapest-based institution that deals extensively with Jewish subjects and has many Jewish members, said on Facebook that it “stands against the propaganda law.”
Mazsihisz, the largest federation of Jewish communities in Hungary, also criticized the legislation without naming it in the group’s statement. Mazsihisz defines itself as a religious community.
“The Mazsihisz, as a Jewish group, firmly believes that all people are inherently pure and their emotions do not make them unclean,” the statement read. “No one should be labeled impure, be discriminated against and certainly not outlawed simply because of their orientation or identity. Such classifications destroy social cohesion and our sense of belonging.”
Hungary’s right-wing government under Viktor Orban has clashed on several issues with Mazsihisz, which has warned that the government’s campaign criticizing Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros risks encouraging antisemitism, and that the government is facilitating Holocaust revisionism. Other local Jewish groups, including the EMIH Jewish federation, have disputed these allegations.
Major Orthodox rabbis in Israel say everyone 12 and up should be vaccinated
By Shira Hanau
(JTA) — Two major Israeli haredi Orthodox rabbis said everyone aged 12 and over should be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the influential leader known as the “prince of Torah,” and Rabbi Gershon Edelstein approved the announcement in a message printed by Kanievsky’s personal physician, Meshulam Hart, in Yated Neeman, an Israeli haredi Orthodox newspaper. The announcement comes as Israel struggles with an increase in coronavirus cases as a result of the more contagious Delta variant.
The rabbis said everyone should be vaccinated both to prevent further deaths from the virus and to prevent additional closures of yeshivas by the government.
Though Kanievsky has consistently come out in favor of the vaccines, his varying directives to Israel’s haredi school system during the height of the pandemic made him a polarizing figure. At times, Kanievsky said the yeshivas should not close even as government officials ordered all schools shut to slow the spread of the virus. Kanievsky was even depicted on Eretz Nehederet, an Israeli sketch comedy show, as the real prime minister rather than the then-prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The haredi Orthodox community in Israel was among the hardest hit by the virus in the country, with one in 73 haredi Israelis over age 65 dying from the coronavirus during the first year of the pandemic, according to one report.
Yankees make Jewish woman batgirl 60 years after turning her down
By Andrew Silow-Carroll
(JTA) — If Gwen Goldman had been named a batgirl for the New York Yankees and not been given the honor of throwing out the first pitch, it would have been enough.
A retired social worker from Westport, Connecticut, Goldman, 70, got to be a batgirl at a Yankees game Monday night, 60 years after the team turned her down because she was a girl.
General Manager Brian Cashman proffered the invite after hearing that she had been rejected for the position in 1961. Goldman still has the letter she received that year from then-GM Roy Hamey, who explained that “a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout.”
This week, Goldman not only got a turn in the dugout, but threw out the first pitch, wore the classic Yankee pinstriped uniform and met the players.
“It just kept coming and coming,” she said of the honors, adding “dayenu,” the Hebrew word meaning that just one of the gestures would have been sufficient.
Teenagers shatter 19th-century synagogue’s windows in Romania
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — Stone-throwing teenagers smashed multiple windows of a 19th-century synagogue building in Romania.
No one was hurt in Monday’s incident at the Synagogue of Orastie, in the western part of the country. Police have labeled it an act of vandalism, a spokesperson was quoted as telling the Stirile Transilvaniei newspaper. The spokesperson did not say whether it was being treated as a hate crime.
Several teens, all minors, have been identified in connection with the stone throwing.
Two archaeologists noticed the damage earlier this week, the website reported. Orastie does not have an active Jewish community. The synagogue was renovated some 15 years ago.
Chabad rabbi stabbed in front of Jewish day school and synagogue in Boston
By Shira Hanau
(JTA) — A Chabad emissary was stabbed outside a Jewish day school and synagogue in Boston on Thursday afternoon.
Rabbi Shlomo Noginsky suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a statement by the director of the Shaloh House Jewish Day School, Rabbi Dan Rodkin.
A suspect is in police custody.
“We are all very shaken by what happened and ask for you to please keep Rabbi Noginski in your prayers,” Rodkin said in a statement, according to Chabad.org.
A Boston Police Department spokesperson said the victim was stabbed outside the building that houses the school and synagogue on Chestnut Hill Street in the Brighton neighborhood at 1:19 p.m. According to Chabad.org, the attacker was arrested while holding a knife and gun.
The school was hosting a Jewish summer camp. The camp went into lockdown at the time of the stabbing.
Israeli exports expected to reach record in 2021
(JNS) — Israeli exports are expected to reach a record of at least $120 billion in 2021, according to Israel’s Economic Ministry.
The hi-tech sector is the most significant factor in export growth in recent years, the Ministry announced on Monday. Software and computer services, which make up the largest portion of hi-tech exports, have increased by more than 20 percent so far this year.
Exports in 2020 reached $114 billion, dropping slightly because of the coronavirus from 2019 that had $115.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who made his fortune from the hi-tech industry, said in a speech in the Knesset earlier this month that he wanted to raise the labor force in the hi-tech sector from 10 to 15 percent by 2026.
Israel’s Interior Minister Shaked revokes Hamas terrorist’s citizenship
(Israel Hayom) — Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked signed off Tuesday on the denaturalization of Ashraf Hassan, a member of Hamas.
Shaked based her decision on information she received from military officials, who told her Hassan had orchestrated an attack on an Israeli soldier and taken advantage of his Israeli citizenship to move around the country freely in pursuit of his plans.
In 2004, Hassan was convicted for plotting to kidnap and kill an Israeli soldier and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He maintained his ties with Hamas after his release. He left Israel in 2016 and has not returned since.
The Interior Ministry said it was proceeding with Hassan’s denaturalization with urgency as “a matter of national security” and in an effort to deter others who might be planning to commit terrorist actions against Israel.
Shaked also approved the revocation of the permanent residency status of Salah Hamouri, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.Subscribe to The Hamouri was arrested in 2005 and sentenced to seven years in prison for plotting to murder a prominent Israeli rabbi. He was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. After his release, he continued his terrorist activities.
“Salah Hamouri’s actions are a serious violation of the basic core commitment of an Israeli citizen, and due to this breach of trust, the revoking of his citizenship is legally justified,” Shaked explained.
In 2008, the Knesset enacted a law according to which the government can revoke the citizenship of any Israeli citizen due to breach of trust or disloyalty to the state.
The revocation of Hassan and Hamouri’s citizenships must be approved by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
Israel ranks among strongest global cyber powers
(Israel Hayom) — Israel is one of the strongest nations when it comes to cyber capabilities, according to a report published Monday by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Israel was ranked on a par with Australia, Canada, China, France, Russia and Britain, and above Iran and North Korea.
The report assessed the cyber power of 15 countries, separating them into three categories based on their ability to assist national decision-makers in calculating strategic risk and deciding on strategic investments.
The United States ranked highest on the list and was the only country in the highest-ranked category.
“Dominance in cyberspace has been a strategic goal of the United States since the mid-1990s,” the report said. “It is the only country with a heavy global footprint in both civil and military uses of cyberspace … The U.S. retains a clear superiority over all other countries in terms of its ICT [Information and Communications Technology] empowerment.”
Israel was ranked in the second-highest category, along with six other countries.
According to the report, Israel “was one of the first countries to identify cyberspace as a potential threat to its national security, and started to address the issue more than 20 years ago.”
The document said that technological and geopolitical changes had caused several organizational reforms in Israel, which culminated in 2018 with the establishment of the Israeli National Cyber Directorate within the Prime Minister’s Office.
It also cited several cyberattacks against Tehran attributed to Jerusalem by foreign publications.
“Notable attacks that have been attributed to Israel include the use of the Stuxnet worm against Iran, between 2008 and 2010, and an attack against an Iranian port in 2020,” the report said, adding, “It appears that Israel has a well-developed capacity for offensive cyber operations and is prepared to undertake them in a wide range of circumstances.”
Along with countries like India, Japan and North Korea, the third category also included Israel’s arch enemy, Iran.
According to the report, “Iran regards itself as being in an intelligence and cyber war with its enemies. In 2010, when the Stuxnet attack on Iran by the United States and Israel was revealed, the country had little access to international cyber-security suppliers and only a very small number of domestic researchers in the field.
“Since then, however, it has become a determined cyber actor against U.S., Gulf Arab and Israeli interests.” And yet, economic and political hardships “suggest that Iran will not be able to boost its indigenous cyber-defense capability easily or quickly.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.