Weekly roundup of world briefs


Israeli rights group urges public broadcaster to stop referring to ‘West Bank’

(JNS) — Shai Glick, the CEO of the B’Tslamo rights group, wrote a letter on Wednesday to the Kan Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation urging it to have its journalists stop using the term “West Bank” for Judea and Samaria.

In the letter to Kan CEO Golan Yochpaz, Glick noted that the official term in Israel for the territories captured in the Six-Day War is Judea and Samaria.

“It is incorrect that the state corporation uses the foreign term ‘West Bank,’ which is left over from the Jordanian occupation before 1967,” wrote Glick.

“West Bank” originated as a shortened version of “The West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan”

He previously raised the issue with the company, which contended that journalists employ the term “West Bank” when Palestinian issues are being discussed, whereas Judea and Samaria are used when addressing Israeli matters.

“But, in fact, even in regard to Israeli topics, such as terror attacks on Israelis, they [Kan] use the term ‘West Bank,’” Glick wrote in his letter.

“The term ‘West Bank’ damages public diplomacy since it connects the region to the Jordanian kingdom and does not reflect the ancient connection of the Jewish people with Judea and Samaria,” he added.

“I demand that you take action and clarify procedures so that Kan in English will only use the official term that is used in the State of Israel: Judea and Samaria,” Glick wrote.

Israel fears US arms in Ukraine will end up in Iranian hands

(JNS) — Israel is worried that weapons from the U.S. and other Western countries sent to Ukraine will find their way to Iran and its proxies.

Israel has two main concerns regarding such weapons. One is that Tehran will reverse-engineer them. Another is that Iran will supply those arms to Hamas and Hezbollah, a high-ranking IDF officer told Newsweek, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The IDF officer mentioned the transfer of one weapons system specifically, the American Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile system.

Both Russian and Ukrainian forces could transfer U.S. weapons, he said. Russian elements are motivated by the defense alliance between Moscow and Tehran. Pro-Ukraine forces are motivated by financial gain. 

The main smuggling route is through the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, he said, noting the situation was “very dangerous.” 

“It’s really challenging to build the picture, but we see the signs,” the Israeli commander said. “We see the signs, and this is very, very troubling.”

Another source, working in intelligence for a foreign country, told Newsweek that on Aug. 20, a Russian Il-76 transport aircraft dropped off a cargo in Tehran worth an estimated $100 million.

Reportedly in that cargo were U.S.-made Javelins and U.K.-made Next-Generation Light Anti-armor Weapons (NLAWs).

Iran has a long history of reverse-engineering Western weapons. In 2018, an Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace and was shot down by the Israel Air Force was determined to have been based on the American RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone.

Iran captured a Sentinel drone in 2011 while it patrolled the border between Iran and Afghanistan.

Israel to compensate Gaza border towns after ‘Shield and Arrow’

(JNS) — Israeli Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich signed an order on Monday to provide compensation to communities along the Gaza Strip border that incurred damages during last month’s “Operation Shield and Arrow” war.

“The resilience of the civilian home front allows the government to act decisively against terrorism, and this is our time to stand behind it with economic support,” said Smotrich.

“The compensation will be approved as soon as possible by the Knesset Finance Committee and will thereafter take effect,” he added.

Smotrich did not specify how much money would be allocated to which locations.

Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group reached a ceasefire deal on May 13 to end five days of fighting.

During the conflict, PIJ fired more than 1,250 rockets at Israel, to which the IDF responded by striking nearly 400 terrorist assets in Gaza.

Inga Avramyan, 80, was the only Israeli fatality, dying when a rocket struck her four-story apartment house in Rehovot, 12 miles south of Tel Aviv.

In April, the Israeli Cabinet approved the allocation of 1.6 billion shekels ($440 million) to strengthen the western Negev city of Sderot, which is located less than a mile from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

During a rare Cabinet meeting convened outside of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted his previous governments’ accomplishments in developing the city and its surroundings, and vowed to do more to support communities constantly targeted by Palestinian rocket fire.

Israel’s aliyah minister hosts Lone Soldiers

(JNS) — Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer on Monday hosted a group of new immigrants who enlisted in the army as Lone Soldiers. The troops received the President’s Excellence Award on Israel’s 75th Independence Day, on April 25.

“I was very excited to meet the outstanding soldiers and hear their stories,” Sofer said.

A “Lone Soldier” is defined by the Israeli military as one without parents in Israel, or who is estranged from their parents.

“Each soldier has a unique and moving story that led them to this point, and behind them are parents who support and encourage their aliyah [immigration] and meaningful service in the Israeli Defense Forces. In my opinion, soldiers that have made aliyah exhibit an unparalleled uniqueness that combines aliyah and the protection of our nation, which is very special,” the minister continued.

The soldiers were presented with a framed certificate of appreciation and a special gift at the event, which was organized by Lt. Col. Oded Nahari, commander of the IDF Ceremonies and Events Unit, and the Aliyah and Integration Ministry.

According to the Lone Soldier Center, a total of 7,000 lone soldiers are currently serving in the IDF.

US pop star Christina Aguilera to perform in Israel

(JNS) — Five-time Grammy-award-winning American pop singer Christina Aguilera will perform in Israel for the first time this summer, Live Nation announced.

She is scheduled to take the stage on Aug. 10 at Live Park in Rishon Lezion.

The 42-year-old is celebrating 25 years in the music business ahead of the silver anniversary of the release of her self-titled debut album that spawned four hit singles, including “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants.”

While not Jewish herself, in 2005, Aguilera married Jewish music executive Jordan Bratman in a “traditional Jewish wedding ceremony” in California. In 2008, they held a Jewish naming and circumcision ceremony for their newborn son, Max Liron Bratman. The couple divorced in 2011.

Meanwhile, U.S. singer Bruno Mars may add a third concert in Israel. A second show has already been added, and both of them quickly sold out.

The 37-year-old will perform at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Oct. 4 and 7, with 124,000 tickets sold for the two shows.

Earlier this month, U.S. hard rock band Guns N’ Roses performed in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 60,000 at Yarkon Park.

IDF maps Dee terrorist’s home for demolition

(JNS) — Israeli forces on early Tuesday mapped for possible demolition the Nablus home of one of the Hamas terrorists who murdered three members of the Dee family.

Muad Masri carried out the attack on April 7 in the Jordan Valley along with his accomplice, Hassan Katnani. Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, were killed in the shooting on the Route 57 highway near the Hamra Junction.

The terrorists were killed by Israeli forces on May 4 in an exchange of fire after troops surrounded their hideout in Nablus’s Kasbah (Old City). Ibrahim Hura, identified by the IDF as a collaborator with the Hamas terrorists, was also killed in the raid, the military said.

Troops measured the Masri’s home in the Rafidiya neighborhood of Nablus (biblical Shechem), which is the first step to prepare for the destruction of the home in an effort to deter terrorism. 

During the mapping operation, armed men threw stones and explosives at the soldiers and fired shots at them, with the forces responding with live fire, the army said.

On May 30, Israeli forces raided Katnani’s home, also in Nablus, to map it for possible demolition. 

In other overnight activities throughout Judea and Samaria, Israeli forces arrested nine suspects and confiscated weapons.

Trump’s granddaughter celebrates her bat mitzvah

(JNS) — Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s granddaughter celebrated her bat mitzvah over the weekend, her mother announced on Tuesday.

Arabella Rose Kushner, the eldest child of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, marked her bat mitzvah — the coming-of-age ceremony for Jewish girls — several weeks before her 12th birthday.

“With an abundance of love and immense pride, Jared and I celebrated our daughter Arabella’s Bat Mitzvah this past weekend,” Ivanka Trump wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“We reflect on the weekend with full hearts and an abundance of joy and gratitude. From her commitment to feeding hungry families through the Jewish Community Service Kosher Food Bank to supporting children with special needs through her work volunteering with the Friendship Circle and Whispering Manes, Arabella’s giving heart and commitment to making a positive impact embodies the spirit of this special milestone.”

“May her Bat Mitzvah be the beginning of a beautiful and fulfilling chapter in her life.”

According to the Business Insider, Donald Trump organized Arabella’s bat mitzvah celebration.

“Thank you dad and Melania for arranging such a sweet celebration for Arabella,” Ivanka wrote.

Five Israelis wounded in Samaria drive-by shooting

(JNS) — Five Israelis were wounded in a terrorist attack on Tuesday near the Rihan Crossing in northwestern Samaria.

In an initial shooting, terrorists driving in a vehicle opened fire on a passing car near the Palestinian-controlled town of Yabad.

Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the victim, a man in his 30s, for a wound to his upper body before evacuating him to the hospital in stable condition.

Four soldiers were wounded by subsequent gunfire targeting their military vehicle, according to the IDF.

The troops were evacuated for treatment in moderate condition.

Israeli forces launched a manhunt for the perpetrator or perpetrators, who fled in their car.

On May 30, a 32-year-old Israeli man was killed in a nearby terrorist shooting, close to the Jewish community of Hermesh in northwestern Samaria.

Meir Tamari sustained a bullet wound to the upper body. He received treatment at the scene before being evacuated by helicopter to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where he was pronounced dead.

Tamari is survived by his wife and two children, ages 1 and 3.

Conference in Baltimore features Islamist speakers with antisemitic histories

(JNS) — The Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society (MAS) concluded their three-day annual conference late last month at the Baltimore Convention Center.

A number of activists and clerics with histories of antisemitism and anti-Israel statements were listed on the docket at the gathering, which featured more than 500 vendors and drew some 30,000, according to the Turkish embassy in Washington.

One panel, titled “Countering and Dismantling Islamophobia, Locally and Globally,” featured Hatem Bazian, chair and founder of the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project. Bazain presented on “Palestine: Century of Settler Colonialism.”

An advocate of boycotting Israel and a defender of Hamas, Bazian said at a 2004 San Francisco rally: “It’s about time that we have an intifada in this country.”

Bazian is also the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine. In 2014, he described Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory.” He regularly compares Israel to Nazi Germany.

Both ICNA and MAS have radical roots—the former is affiliated with the South Asian Sunni revivalist movement Jamaat-e-Islami and the latter is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Among dozens of speakers on the docket were Siraj Wahhaj (who has defended executing gay people and had associations with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind); Omar Suleiman (who, among other things, rejects Jewish claims to Jerusalem); and Abdul Nasir Jangda (who has advocated executing Muslim apostates).

US House passes resolution calling on Russia to free Evan Gershkovich

By Jackie Hajdenberg

(JTA) — The United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve a resolution demanding that Russia release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

The congressional resolution, which does not have the binding force of law, calls for Gershkovich to be released from prison immediately, and also demands that he be given full access to U.S. consular staff until he is released.

Gershkovich, 31, has been held in a Russian prison since March 29 on allegations of espionage, which he, the U.S. government, and the Wall Street Journal say are spurious. His pretrial detention was recently extended until at least August 30. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in a Russian penal colony.

Gershkovich is the son of Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union and is the first American journalist arrested on espionage charges since the end of the Cold War. His case has attracted interest and support from Jews and Jewish organizations around the world, who have pushed for his release.

The resolution was introduced by Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution also calls for the immediate release of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested in Russia in 2018 on espionage charges and is currently serving a 16-year sentence.

“No evidence has been presented to back up this accusation, because there is no evidence,” McCaul said on the House floor.

Pew: Half of Americans disapprove of college admissions based on race

(JNS) — Ahead of Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the Pew Research Center released data from two surveys.

Just 33 percent of U.S. adults support selective colleges and universities considering race and ethnic background in admissions decisions, while half disapprove and 16 percent are unsure, per the first survey.

Many more Republicans and independents who lean Republican (74 percent) oppose these sorts of admissions decisions, while 54 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democrat approve.

The second survey—this one focused on Asian-American adults—found that 53 percent of Asian adults who have heard of affirmative action view it positively, although 76 percent said that colleges should not factor race or ethnicity into admissions.

“Overall, majorities of Asian adults across gender, age, education and origin groups say race or ethnicity should not factor into college admissions,” according to Pew.

An overwhelming majority said that grades (87 percent), standardized test scores and community service (71 percent) should factor into admissions. Much fewer (33 percent) thought that athletic ability should be part of the admissions calculus, and an even smaller group (10 percent) supported family connections (“legacies”).


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