Weekly roundup of world briefs
June 17, 2022
Jewish man beaten and allegedly called ‘dirty Jew’ while campaigning for his political candidate wife in France
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — A group of men violently assaulted a Jewish man while he was putting up campaign posters for his wife, who is running for a legislative seat in Strasbourg, France, the victim told police.
Initially, two men who approached Liron Rozenhaft, 41, on Thursday called him a “dirty Jew” after reading the name of his wife, Audrey Rozenhaft, on the posters, Le Parisien reported on Friday. She is running as a candidate for the center-right Republicans party in the 1st constituency of Bas-Rhin, which includes the city’s center and multiple outer districts, in elections scheduled for June 23.
Liron Rozenhaft said that the two men pulled down the posters and followed him elsewhere on a scooter. Several other men followed in pursuit. He said he told the men that France “is still a democracy.”
In a Facebook post about the incident, Audrey Rozenhaft wrote that he was left unconscious, and said that authorities have allowed for “an explosion crime and violence” in the area. Rozenhaft was left with minor injuries, including a concussion, according to the Le Parisien.
Strasbourg Mayor Jeanne Barseghian condemned the incident in a statement, writing that “we condone no violence, and when it targets democratic discourse it’s particularly shocking.”
Barseghian did not mention the alleged antisemitic element of the incident. Police are investigating the allegations, she said.
Israeli heirs to the ‘Top Gun’ story sue Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement
By Madeline Fixler
(JTA) — The widow and son of the Israeli author whose 1983 magazine article inspired the original “Top Gun” film are suing Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement over the newly released sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”
A complaint filed in a Los Angeles federal court on Monday and shared by Variety argues that Paramount failed to reacquire the rights to Ehud Yonay’s California magazine piece after the rights reverted to his heirs Shosh and Yuval Yonay in 2020.
The Yonays, who currently reside in Israel, claim that Paramount was notified of the copyright termination in 2018 and 2022. Paramount argues that the sequel was “sufficiently completed” by Jan. 24, 2020, the date the copyright reversal went into effect.
“These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” Paramount said in a statement.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has become one of the summer’s top blockbusters, grossing over $550 million globally since its U.S. debut on May 27. The Yonays are seeking unspecified damages, including profits from the film, as well as an injunction preventing its further distribution.
Ehud Yonay, who died last year, also wrote a book titled “No Margin For Error: The Making of the Israeli Air Force.”
Bennett makes snap visit to Abu Dhabi, meets UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed
(JNS) — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to the United Arab Emirates for a snap visit on Thursday morning at the invitation of Gulf state’s president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The two leaders discussed regional issues during a private meeting at the president’s palace, according to an Israeli government press statement. It was their third meeting in recent months.
The two also held an expanded working meeting that included their respective staff.
Upon arrival, Bennett was greeted by Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and an honor guard. He then met with UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Before departing for the UAE, Bennett referred to the Iran issue, commending the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors’ decision on Wednesday, which expressed its “profound concern” over unexplained traces of uranium found at three undeclared nuclear sites.
The decision “clearly states that Iran is continuing to play games and is continuing to conceal and hide,” said Bennett.
“On the one hand, we see in this decision the lies and the hypocrisy of Iran on the nuclear issue and in general. On the other hand, we see here a firm stance by the countries of the world regarding the distinction between good and evil, as they clearly state that Iran is concealing things. We will not let up on this issue,” he added.
Bennett also expressed his condolences to the royal family on the passing of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, “who helped pave the way for the partnership between Israel and the UAE; the same partnership that we will strengthen today.”
Iranian drone attack in Iraq targeted Mossad hit squad
By Shahar Klaiman
(Israel Hayom via JNS) — A drone attack in the northern Iraq city of Erbil, on Wednesday, targeted a Mossad hit squad, Iran’s official FARS news agency reported on Thursday.
According to Kurdistan’s counterterrorism service, three people were injured and several cars were damaged when a UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, detonated on the outskirts of the northern Iraqi city at approximately 9:30 p.m. local time.
Two security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the drone had been shot down.
A security source said earlier that a drone attack had targeted the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, but did not give further details.
“Bomb-laden drone hit Erbil-Pirmam road, causing civilian injuries and damage,” the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq tweeted. “Iraq does not need self-proclaimed, armed arbiters. Asserting state authority is essential. If the perpetrators are known, call them out and hold them to account.”
Last month, artillery fire from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hit an area north of Erbil, capital of the Kurdish region, targeting what Iranian state television described as terror bases.
In March, the Guards attacked Erbil with a dozen ballistic missiles in an unprecedented assault on the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region. The IRGC later said it had targeted “a strategic center for conspiracy and mischiefs of the Zionists.”
Iraqi officials later said no evidence had been found of a Mossad permanent base in Erbil.
At least three other attacks have targeted oil refineries in the city since the March attack, but no group has claimed responsibility for them.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
Hezbollah gathering intelligence on Lebanon border in disguise
(JNS) — Hezbollah has established an intelligence-gathering outpost on the Israel-Lebanon border disguised as an environmental protection group, the Israeli military announced on Wednesday.
Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesperson Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee posted images on Twitter showing what he said were Hezbollah members at the post.
Their presence on the border, he said, was a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans the presence of all armed groups in southern Lebanon, with the exception of the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The IDF has revealed in the past that Hezbollah uses the cover of “Green Without Borders,” a Lebanese NGO that claims to be dedicated to environmental goals, to maintain a presence near the border.
According to Kan News, the head of the IDF’s Northern Command Maj. Gen. Amir Bara’am said on Wednesday: “Recently, there has been an increase in the construction of Hezbollah forward bases on the border. We are familiar with them, we know their names and where they come from. When the day comes, they will pay the price, them and those who send them, and the [Lebanese] border villages that they use as terror-military bases. We will destroy the entire line of engagement infrastructure.”
Russian and Syrian air forces conduct joint drill over Syria
(JNS) — The Russian and Syrian air forces conducted a joint drill in Syria, on Tuesday, for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to Syria’s Defense Ministry.
Two Russian SU-35 fighter jets and six Syrian MiG-23 and MiG-29 jets simulated confronting warplanes and drones, according to an AP report. The Syrian jets operated in the drill with the Russian planes acting in support.
The drill came after Syrian state TV reported that Israeli missiles struck army positions south of Damascus.
The opposition-affiliated, London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that strike targeted the Kisweh region south of Damascus, where Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias are based.
Israel boosts protection for elderly population amid rise in COVID infections
(JNS) — Israel has stepped up protective measures for its elderly population after a rise in the number of coronavirus infections, stated Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Office on Wednesday.
Following a consultation by Bennett, Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz and other health experts, while that decision was taken, there was no change in government health policies, said the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Officials presented the current picture and infection figures in recent days, which point to a consistent upward trend. They also presented assessments going forward,” said Bennett’s office.
As part of the measures, the health system will place a greater emphasis on a program to protect senior homes and retirement centers, reiterating recommendations for elderly citizens and those at risk to wear a mask indoors. The obligation to wear a mask in medical facilities and senior facilities will remain in place.
Monitoring for disease levels via sewage samples will also continue, said the statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, director of the national COVID-19 program Salman Zarka told attendees at the “2042 Medicine Conference” taking place from June 8-9 in Tel Aviv that “it looks like we are the start of a new corona wave,” the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, according to a report by Channel 13.
He added that “we are weighing the giving of a fifth vaccine dose.”
Israel rejects Washington’s overtures for summit on peace process
(JNS) — The Israeli government has rejected the Biden administration’s proposal for a high-level summit with the Palestinian Authority.
Axios reports that Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata made Israel’s position clear last week while he was in Washington.
Hulata met with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who again promoted a high-level summit with U.S., Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian officials. The idea stretches back to December, when Israeli officials had been largely ambiguous in their response to American queries on the proposal.
According to Axios, Hulata told Sherman that the Israeli government doesn’t believe conditions are ripe on either side for such an initiative. Notably, Hulata stressed that such a venture would likely result in little more than a photo opportunity and create an “expectation crisis,” something that Israeli officials are loathed to do based on past peace negotiations that have resulted in failure and subsequent violence by Palestinians.
It remains unclear why the Biden administration continues to pursue such a summit when it spent its early months pointing out repeatedly that conditions on the ground warranted a more measured, day-to-day approach to the conflict, with a focus on confidence-building measures and the improvement of the Palestinian economy.
The U.S. State Department and White House have also noted on numerous occasions the fragility of the diverse Israeli government, which agreed at its formation not to move forward with any steps towards a political resolution with Ramallah due to the divisiveness it could cause with the coalition.
Liberia set to open trade office in Jerusalem
(JNS) — Liberia will open a new trade office in Jerusalem, which will eventually become the West African country’s first official embassy in Israel.
The announcement was made by a delegation of Liberian ministers, led by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, during their meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
The Liberian delegation said it will finish submitting an application for office space in Jerusalem within a few weeks.
During the meeting, they asked for Israel’s help in several areas, including agriculture, drought and tourism.
“Liberia is a true friend of the State of Israel and the opening of an official Liberian office in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is welcome news,” Roll said. “Liberia is a loyal supporter of Israel, deepening diplomatic relations with it. We will continue to work so that as many countries as possible will open missions in Jerusalem, where their natural place is.”
The delegation currently visiting Israel also includes Liberia’s ministers of economy, trade and industry, information and agriculture. In addition to meeting with Israel’s president, they also met with officials from the Defense Ministry and representatives of the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce, to discuss cooperation and the opening of a Chamber of Commerce in Israel.
Mosaic United opens $1 million summer-camp fund for Ukrainian Jewish refugees
(JNS) — Mosaic United is issuing a request for proposals to sponsor summer-camp experiences for Ukrainian Jewish refugees, offering up to $1 million in funding.
An estimated 50,000 Jews have been displaced since the start of the war in Ukraine, most of whom have decided to remain in Europe. Those displaced require a wide array of support, including communal and religious services.
To provide them with a safe and meaningful Jewish experience, Mosaic United is soliciting proposals from qualified organizations to sponsor the participation of Jewish refugees.
Proposals can be submitted for day and overnight camps for children, family camps lasting one to two weeks, and weekend retreats or Shabbatons for any age group. Funding is provided on a per person, per day basis.
Due to the urgent nature of the need, full funding is being provided; no matching funds are required. Organizations can propose experiences designed exclusively for refugees or experiences that integrate refugees with other Jewish campers.
Qualifying organizations will receive funding and support. They will be responsible for all aspects of the camp, including participant recruitment, staffing and programming.
Pro-Israel groups urge New York to divest from Unilever
(JNS) — Sixteen Jewish and Christian pro-Israel groups are urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to take decisive action against Unilever and its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, for the ice-cream maker’s July 2021 decision to stop selling its products in “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Under an executive order, New York State must divest funds from companies that boycott Israel.
In a letter sent to Hochul and the Office of General Services commissioner Jeanette M. Moy earlier this month, the groups asked the governor to make good on her November threat to add Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to a list of companies from which New York must divest.
Hochul had given the ice-cream maker and its owner 90 days to explain why they should not be on that list, but that deadline has long since passed.
“Anti-Jewish attacks often start with boycotts,” said ZOA national president Morton A. Klein. “As a child of Holocaust survivors, I keep in mind that the Nazis’ atrocities began with their 1933 boycott of Jewish businesses. On behalf of thousands of supporters and friends in the State of New York, I urge Governor Hochul and Commissioner Moy to follow through now on their assurances made last fall. Placing Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s on New York’s BDS list will demonstrate that New York has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic boycotts.”
Besides the ZOA, signatories to the letter include Americans Against Antisemitism; Students Supporting Israel; AMIT; Emunah; Coalition for Jewish Values; EZRA USA National Movement; StopAntisemitism.org; North American Board of Rabbis; Proclaiming Justice to the Nations; Rabbinical Alliance of America; The Lawfare Project; Israel Heritage Foundation; One Israel Fund; Conference of Jewish Affairs; and Americans for a Safe Israel.